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Bhandarkar Oriental Series No. 4 



BIMALA CHURN LAW, m.a, b.l., Ph.D., mm. 

Griffith Prizeman and Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Gold Medalist, Calcutta University; Fellow, 
Royal Geographical Society of London; Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal; Hony. 
Correspondent, Archaeological Survey of ludia; Hotiy, Member. Bhandarkar Oriental Research 
Institute; President. Calcutta Geographical Society; Author, A History- of Pali Literature, The 
Life and Work of Buddhaghosa. Geography of Early Buddhism, Geographical Essays. Vol. I, Some 
Ksalriya Tribes of Ancient India, Ancient Mid-Indian Ksalriya Tribi-s. Makavira: His Life and 
Teachings, The Buddhist Conception of Spirits, Concepts of Buddhism. Historical Gleanings, A 
Study of the Mahavastu, A Manual of Buddhist Historical Traditions, Designation of Human 
Types, Debates Commentary, Women in Buddhist Literature, India as described in Early Texts 
of Buddhism and Jainism, Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon (P.T.S.), Saundarananda-Kavya, 
Dathavamsa, etc.; Editor, Buddhistic Studies. Thufavamsa (P.T.S.), etc. ; Joint Editor, Annual 
Bibliography of Indian Archaeology, published by the Kern Institute, Holland 



Nai Saiak. Di-^rfl 



The map of India showing the important kingdoms, towns, etc. 

Printed by G. E. Bingham, Baptist Mission Press, 41A Lower Circular Road. Calcutta, and 

Published by Dr. R. N. Dandekar. the Secretary, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 

Pooaa \ (Indiaj. 





(January, 1920 — September, 1941) 


The present book is the outcome of my continued study of the 
history of tribes of Ancient India. In past years I wrote some 
books on tribes which have been well received by scholars and the 
present treatise is an improvement of them and I have added many 
new tribes to it. The object of the volume is to present a com- 
prehensive and systematic account of some tribes inhabiting different 
parts of India, viz. north, south, east, west and central, who played 
an important part in the early history of India. 

In preparing the volume, I have utilised original works in 
Sanskrit, Pah, Prakrit, Tibetan and Chinese and I have also derived 
help from other sources, such as epigraphy, archaeology, numis- 
matics, and the itineraries of the Chinese pilgrims. In a work of 
this kind, legends cannot altogether be ignored as they very often 
contain a substratum of truth. In my treatment I have spared no 
pains to make full use of the materials that may be gathered from 
our ancient literature. Modern literature on the subject, too, has 
been duly utilised. I have tried as far as possible to separate legends 
from authentic history. But the task is fraught with difficulties 
and it is not always easy to draw the dividing line. It must, how- 
ever, be admitted that the history of India is not complete without a 
thorough knowledge of the history of tribes. Hence an attempt has 
been made here to present an exhaustive and careful study of the 
ancient Indian tribes without farti firis and in a spirit of scientific 
research. I believe that this work will remove a long-felt want and 
will prove to be of some use to scholars interested in the history of 
ancient India. 

I am grateful to the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 
Poona, for having kindly included it in their series. 

43 Kailas Bose Street, Bimala Churn Law 

Calcutta, September, 1943. 



























































































CHAPTER 1,111 



















■ • 337 

■• 344 

•• 347 























Abhidhaiiaeintamani (Hcmacandra) 

Abhi dh an aratnamal a 

Abhidharma kosa ( Va s uban dh u) 

Adhyatniu R<1nnivunu (Kali Sahkar Vidyaratna ed.) 


Aitareya Aranyaka (Aneedota Oxoniensia) 

Aitareya Brainnana 

Alexander's Invasion (McCrindle) Leben (Zimrner) 


Ancient and Hindu India (V. A. Smith) 

Ancient Geography of India by Cunningham (Ed. S, N. Majnmdar) 

Ancient India (E. J. Rapson) 

Ancient India (S. K. Aiyangar) 

Ancient India as described by Ptolemy (Ed. S. N. Majnmdar) 

Ancient India: its invasion by Alexander the Great (McCrindle) 

Ancient Indian Historical Tradition (F. E. Pargiter) 

Anguttara Nikaya (P.T.S.) 

Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute 

Antiquities of Kathiawar and Kacch (Burgess) 

Apadana (P.T.S.) 

Archaeological Survey of India (Annual Reports) 

Archaeological Survey of South India (Reports) 

Arthasastra, Barhaspatva (P. W. Thomas) 

Arthasastra, Kautilya (R. Shama Sastri Ed. and Tr.) 

Asiatic Researches 

Asoka (V. A. Smith) 

Asoka (Woolner) 


Astadhyayi, Panini ^ 

Atharva-Samhita (Whitney & Lanman— Harvard Oriental Series) 

Atharvaveda ■ ■ . 

Atharvaveda-Samhita (Roth & Whitney— Harvard Oriental Series) 

Atthasalini (P.T.S.) 

Avadana 6ataka 

Avada.nakalpa.lata (Bibliotheca Indica Series) 

Apastamba Sranta Sutra 

Balabharata or Pracandapandava of Rajasekhara (Nirnayasagar Press ed.) 


Barhut (Barua) 

Barhut Inscriptions (Barua & Sinha) 

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra 


Bhagavati Sutra (Dhanpat Smgh ed.) 


Bombay Gazetteer 

Book of the Kindred Sayings, The (P.T.S.) 


Brhatsamhita (Kem) 

Buddhacarita (Cowell) 

Buddhavamsa and Cariyapitaka (J.P.T.S., 1882) 

Buddhavamsa Commentary (P.T.S.) 

Buddhism (Copleston) 

Buddhist Cotn^pii'ii] »t Spirits, The (B. C. Law, 2nded.) 

Buddhist India (T. W. Rhys Davids} 

Buddhist Records of the Western World (S. Beal) 

Buddhist Suttas (S.B.E., Vol. XI) 

Calcutta Review 

Cambridge History of India, The, Vol. I, Ancient India 

Carmichael Lectures, 1918 and 1921 (D. R. Bhandarkar) 

Catalogue of Coins (V. A. Smith) 

Catalogue of Coins in the Punjab Museum, Vol. I (Whitehead) 

Chinese Buddhism (Edkins) 

Chronicles of the Kings of Kasmir (Stein) ' 

Coins of India (Brown) 

Coins of India (Cunningham) 

Colas, The (Nilakanta Sastri) 

Corporate Life in Ancient India (R. C. Majumdar) 

Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum 

Culavamsa (P.T.S.) 

Dasakumara carit a 

Dathavamsa (Ed. B.C. Law) . , li . ,. 

Der Vratva: Untersuchungeu Uber die uichtbralimamsche Religion Altindiens 

(J. W. Hauer) 
Dhammapada (Fausboll) 
Dhammapada Commentary (P.T.S.) 
Dharmasastra (Gautama) 

Bharmasutra _ , ,,. . , 

Dialogues of the Buddha, I-III (S.B.B., II-IV— P.T.S. publication) 
Dictionarv, Goldstiicker 

Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, I and II (G. P. Malalasekcra) 
Die Sk. Pr. Hand schrif ten der Berliner Bibliothek (Weber) 
Die Sociale Gliederung (Fiok) 
DIgha Nikaya (P.T.S.) 
DIpavamsa (Oldenberg) 

S^rr-S^-.., fetes Heft, Male,*, des Cto I^n. 

{Berthold Laufer) 
Dynasties of the Kali Age (Pargiter) 
Dynasties of the Kanarese Districts (Fleet) 

Early History of India, 4th Ed. (V. A. Smith) 

Early History of Kausambi (K. N. Ghosh) 

Earlv History of the Dekkan (R. G. Bhandarkar) 

Early History of the Vaisnava Sect (H. C . Ray Chaudhun) 

Eastern India (Martin) 

Epigraphia Indica 

Essays, Analytical, etc. (Wilson) 

Etude sur la Geog. Grecque (M. V . St. Martin) 


Gargi Samhita 

Gates of India (Holdich) 

Gaudalekhamala (Yarendra Research Society) 


Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Mediaeval India (N. L. Dey) 

Geographical Essays, I (B. C. Law) 

Geography of Early Buddhism {B. C. Law) 

Geschichte der Indischen Litteratur (M. Winternitz) 

Gesenichte des Buddhisiiius in Indien by Taranath (tr. into German by A. Schiefner) 


Gopatha Brahmana (Ed. R. L. Mitra.— Bibliotheca Indica Series) 

Grammar (Panini) 

Great Epic of India, The (Hopkins) 

Guide to Nalanda, A (A. Ghosh) 

Guide to Taxila, A (Sir John Marshall) 

Gupta Coins (Allan) 


Harsacarita (Bana) 

Harsha (R. K. Mookerjee) 

Heart of Jainism (S. Stevenson) 

Hinduism and Buddhism, I-III (Sir Charles Eliot) 

Hiranvakcsr Srauta Sutra 

Historical Gleanings (B. C. Law) 

Historical Inscriptions of Southern India (SeweU) 

History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature (Max Miiller) 

HistorV of fine Art in India and Ceylon (V. A. Smith) 

History of India as told by her own Historians (Elliot) 

History of Indian Architecture (G. Fergusson) 

History of Indian Literature (Max Miiller) 

Historv of Indian Literature (Weber) 

History of Indian Logic (S. C. Vidyabhusana) 

Historv of Pali Literature, A, I & II (B. C. Law) 

Historv of Sanskrit Literature (Macdonell) 

History of the Bengali Language (B. C. Majumdar) 

Iconographie Bouddhique de t'Inde (M. Foucher) 

Imperial Gazetteers of India 

Index to the names in the Mahabharata (Sorensen) 

India (Alberuni) . . „ . 

India as described in Early Texts of Buddhism and Jaimsm (B. C. Law) 

India, What can it teach us ? (Max Miiller) 

Indian Antiquary 

Indian Coins (Rapsou) 

Indian Culture 

Indian Historical Quarterly 

Indica (Arrian) 

Indiens Literatur und Cultur (Von bchroeder) 

Indische Alterthumskunde (Lassen) 

Indische Studien (Weber) 

Indo-Arvau Races (R. P. Chanda) ■ 

Inscriptions of Asoka (Bhandarkar and Majumdar) . 


Inscriptions of Bengal (Varendra Research Society) 
Inscriptions of the Early Gupta Kings (J. F. Fleet) 

Taiminiva Upanisad Brahmana 

Jaina Sutras I &'ll (Jacobi, S.B.E. Vols. XXII & XLV) 

Jataka (Cowell and Fausboll)— All the volumes 

Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (J.A.S.B.) 

Journal of the Buddhist Text Society _ 

Journal of the Department of Letters, Calcutta University ,,.„.„. 

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (J.R.A.S.) 

Journal of the U.P. Historical Society 

Kalpasutra and Nirayavali sutra 

Kamasutra, Vatsayana {Punjab ed.) 

Karatoy amahatmy a 

Karmasataka (M. L. Feer) 

Karpuramanjari (Sten Konow) 


Kathaaaritsagara (Durgaprasad and Kasmath) 

Kathavatthu (P.T.S.) t , 

Kausambi in Ancient Literature, M.A.S.I. No. 60 (B. C. Law) 

Kausitaki "Upanisad ■ „ . , 

Kavvamimamsa (Rajasekhara) (Gaekwad's Onental Senes) 
Khuddakapatha Commentary (P.T.S.) 

Lalitavistara (Lefmann) 

Lalitavistara (R. L- Mitra— Bibliotheca Indica Series) 

L'art Graeco Bouddhique der Gandhara {J. Foucher) 

Lattavana Srauta Sutra 

Laws of Manu, S.B.E. (Buhler) 

h€ Mahavastu (Senart) 

Le Nepal (S.Levi) 

Life and Work of Buddhaghoaa, The (B. C. Law) 

Life of Hiuen Tsang (Beal) 

Life of the Buddha, The (Rockhill) 

List of Southern Inscriptions (Keilhora) 

Mahabharata (Vangavasi ed.) 

Mahabharata (M.N. Duttatr.) , ,. 

Mahabharata, Vanaparva (Maharaja Burdwan s ed.) 

Mahabhasya (Patafijali) 

Mahabodhivamsa (P.T.S.) 

Mahavamsa, P.T.S. (Ceiger) 

Mahavamsa TIka (Sinhalese ed.) 

Mahavira; His Life and Teachings (B. C. Law) 

Majjhima Nikaya (P.T.S.) 


Manava Dharmasastra (J. Jolly) 

Manimekhalai . . . 

Manjusrimulakalpa (GanapatiSaatned.) 

Manorathapurani (P.T.S. and Sinhalese eds.) 

Manual of Buddhism (Spence Hardy) 

Manual of Indian Buddhism (Kern) 


Maims am hit a 

Markandeya Purana (Pargiter) 

Memoirs of Central India (Malcolm) 

Milindapafio (Trenckner) 

Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon, The (B. C. Law— S.B.B., P.T.S. publication) 

Modern Review 

Mudraraksasa (Visakhadatta) 

Mysore and Coorg from Inscriptions (Rice) 

Natural History (Pliny) 
Nepal Vamsavall 
NiddesLL (P.T.S.) 
Nimkta (Yaska) 
Numismatic Chronicle 

Old Brahml Inscriptions in the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves (B. M. Barua) 
On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India (T. Watters) ' _ m 

Origin and Development of the Bengali Language, The (S. K. Chatterjee) 
Origin of the Bengali Script, The (R. D. Banerjee) 

Pali Grammar by Kaccayana (Ed. S. C. VidyabhQsana) 

Panchalas and their capital Ahichchhatra, M.A.S.I. No. 67 (B. C. Law) 

Panini (Goldstiicker) 

Papaiicasudani (P.T.S.) 

Paramatthadipani on the Petavatthu (P.T.S.) 

Paramatthadipani on the Theragatha (P.T.S.) 

I'arisistaparvan (Jacobi) 

Pataliputra (Mauoranjan Ghosh) 

Pei'-iplus of the Erythraean Sea, The (Schorl) 

Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed. (H. C. Ray Chandliun) 

Prabodhacar.'b -;.;.: 

Pracina Mndra (R. D. Banerjee) 

Pratijfiavaugandharavana (Bhasa) 

Psalms of the Brethren (P.T.S.) 

Psalms of the Sisters (P.T.S.) 

Public Administration in Ancient India (P. N. Banerjee) 

Piijavallya (Sinhalese ed.) 

Puranas — all. 

Questions of King Milinda (S.B.E.)- 

Rajatarangini (Stein) 

:rha in 'Ancient Literature, M.A.S.I. No. 58 (B. C. Law) 
Rajglr and its neighbourhood (D. N. Sen) 

Ramavana (Bombay and Vangavasieds.) 
Ramavana (Griffith's tr.) 
Ratnavali and Priyadarsika (Harsa) 
Records of the Buddhist Religion (I-tsing) 
Rgveda (Wilson's tr.) 
Rgveda Brahmana (Keith) 
Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha, The (Beal). 


Samantapasadika (P.T.S.) 

Samhitopanisad Brahman a 

Sarnyutta Nikaya (P.T.S.) 

Sankhayana Aranyafca (Keith) 

Sanskrit-English 'Dictionary (Monier-WilKams) 

Sanskrit Texts (Muir) 

Saratthapakasini (P.T.S.) 

Sasanavamsa (P.T.S.) 

Satapatha Brahmana (Eggeling, S.B.E.) 

Saundarananda-Kavya (B. C. Law's tr.) 

Selections from the Mahabharata (Johnson) 


Sirikalpasutram (Bhavnagar ed.) 

Social Organisation in North-East India in Buddha's time (Fick) 

Some Ksatriva Tribes of -Indent India (B, C. Law) 

South Indian Epigraphy, Annual Reports of 

South Indian Inscriptions (Hiiltzsch) 

Sravasti in Indian Literature, M.A.S.L, No. 50 (B. C. Law) 

Sthaviravali-charita {Hemchandra) 

Studies in Indian Antiquities (H. C. Ray Chaudhun) 

Studv of the Mahavastu, A (B. C. Law) 

Successors of the Satavahanas (D. C. Sircar) 

Sumangalavilasini (P.T.S.) 

Suttanipata (P.T.S.) 

Suttanipata Commentary (P.T.S.) 

Svapnavasavadatta (Bhasa) {Sukhthankar's tr.) 

Taittiriya Brahmana 

Taittiriva Samhita 

Thera-fherigatha (P.T.S.) 

Therigatha Commentary (P.T.S.) 

Thupavamsa (P.T.S.) 

Travels of Fa-Hien (Legge) 

Travels of Fa-Hien and Sung-Yun (S. Beal} 

Udana (P.T.S.) 

Udana Commentary (P.T.S.)*, 

Udana-vannana. (Siamese ed.) 

University of Nalanda, The (H. D. Sankaha) 

Upanisads— all 

Uttaradhyayana Sutra (J. Charpentier) 

Uvasagadasao (Hoernle} . * 

Vaiiavantt (G. Oppert) 

Vaisn'avism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems (R. G. Bhandarkar) 


Vamsatthapakasini (P.T.S.) 

Vangalar Itihasa (R. D. Banerjee) 

Veda of the Black Vajus' School (Keith) 

Vedic Index {Macdonell and Keith) 

Vedic Mythology (Macdonell) 

Vimanavatthu Commentary (P.T.S.) 

Vinava Pitaka (Oldenberg) 


Vinaya Texts, I-III (S.B.E.) 

Visnudharniottara Mahapuraria 

Visnupurana (Wilson's ed.) 

Vividha-tirtha-kalpa (Singhee Jaina Granthamala Series) 

Zui Litteratur und Geschichte des Weda (Roth) 


The Kambojas appear to have been one of the early Vedic 
tribes. The earliest mention of them occurs in a list of ancient 
Vedic teachers given in the Vamsa Brdhmana of the Sdmaveda, 
where we find one of the teachers to be Kamboja Aupamanyava, 
i.e., Kamboja, the son of Upamanyu (Vamsa Brdhmana, edited by 
Pundit Satyavrata Sainasrami) . We are told that the sage Anandaj a 
received the Vedic learning from 'Samba, son of Sarkaraksa, and 
also from Kamboja, son of Upamanyu. It is interesting to note 
that he received this instruction from two teachers, whereas one 
teacher only was the usual rule. From the order in which the 
names are given, Samba appears to have been his first teacher, and 
the Kamboja teacher must have been approached later, perhaps 
because he was distinguished for special pre-eminence in Vedic 
learning. We lay stress on this fact because it shows that the 
Kambojas, in early Vedic times, must have been a Vedic Indian 
people, and not Iranian, as has been supposed by several scholars. 
From the list of teachers we also find that both the teachers of 
Anaudaja had received their education in Vedic lore from the same 
sage, viz., Madragara Sauhgayani, whose uame shows that he 
belonged to the Madra people. 1 This connection between the Madras 
and the Kambojas is natural, as they were close neighbours in the 
N.W. of India. 

The Kambojas are not mentioned in the Rgveda itself, but 
indirect evidence may help to justify the assumption that they were 
included among the Vedic Aryans in the Rgvedic era. A sage 
Upamanyu is mentioned at Rgveda, I, 102, 9, and it is not unreason- 
able to conjecture that he may have been the father of the Kamboja 
teacher of the Vamsa Brdhmana list. Such a possibility is suggested 
bv Zimmer. 2 

The next important mention of the Kambojas is in a passage of 
Yaska's Nirukta (II, 8), which shows that they spoke a dialect of the 
Vedic tongue differing in some respects from the standard language, 
which in Yaska's time was apparently in language of the Madhyadesa, 
the region around the Ganges- Jumna Doab. The Kambojas appear 
from Yaska's remarks to have been a Vedic people who had retained 

■ Vedic Index, I, p. 138. a AlUndisches Leben, p. 102. 


the original sense of an ancient verb (iavati) while it was lost among 
other sections of the same people, who were separated from them by 
geographical barriers. Sir George Grierson, however, deduces from 
Yaska's remarks that, as savati is an Iranian, not a Sanskrit, word, 
the Kambojas cannot have been Indo-Aryans. He holds that they 
either spoke Sanskrit with an infusion of Iranian words to which they 
gave Indian inflexions, or else spoke a language partly Indo-Aryan 
and partly Iranian. 1 _ 

Yaska also attempts a (pseudo-) philological explanation ot tne 
name Kamboja, bv connecting it with Kambala, 'blanket', and 
further with the root Kam, to love, enjoy. He suggests that the 
Kambojas may have been so called because they were Kamamya- 
bhojas or'enjoyers of pleasant -things', and adds that a Kambala 
is a pleasant thing. Though we cannot take this etymology seriously, 
there can be no doubt that the warm blanket, Kambala, was a 
pleasant thing to a people living in the rigorous climate of the 
N.W. highlands. . 

The Kambalas or blankets manufactured by the Kambojas are 
referred to in the Mahabharata, which tells us that at the great 
Rajasuya sacrifice, the Kamboja king presented to Yudhisthira 
'many of the best kinds of skins, woollen blankets, blankets made of 
the fur of- animals living in burrows in the earth, and also of cats— 
all inlaid with threads of gold' (Sabhaparvan, Chap. 51, 3) : and again, 
'The king of Kamboja sent to him hundreds and thousands of black, 
dark and red skins of the deer called Kadali, and also blankets 
{Kambala) of excellent texture' (Sabhaparvan, Chap. 48, 19). _ 

The next mention of the Kambojas is made by Panini. His 
Sutra (IV, 1, 175) lays down the rule that the word Kamboja denotes 
not only the Kamboja country or tribe, but also the Kamboja king. 

With regard to the location of Kamboja, Rhys Davids says that 
it was a country in the extreme N.W. of India, with Dvaraka as its 
capital. 2 Dr. S. K. Aiyangar places it in the territory answering to 
the modern Sindh and Gujarat 3 and Dr. P. N. Banerjee too in his 
Public Administration in Ancient India (p. 56) assigns Kamboja to 
a country near modern Sindh. Both these writers agree with Prof. 
Rhys Davids in locating the capital at Dvaraka. Kamboja is 
mentioned in Petavatthu (II, 9, 1), but from the commentary 
on that passage (PvA, 111} it appears that Dvaraka is not its capital.* 
V. A. Smith seems to place the Kambojas among the mountains 
either of Tibet or of the Hindu Kush. He further says that they 

'■ J.R.A.S., 1911, pp. 801-2. 

> Rhvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. 28. 3 Ancient India, p. 7. 

1 See also B. C. Law,' Buddhist Conception of Spirits (2nd Ed.), p. 102. 


are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue (Early History of 
India, 4th Ed., p. 193 and f.n. 1). According to McCrindle, Kamboja 
was Afghanistan, the Kaofu (Karnbti) of Hsiian Tsang (McCrindle, 
Alexander's Invasion, p. 38). In the Vedic Index, it is stated that 
the Kambojas were settled to the N.W. of the Indus and were the 
Kambujiya of the old Persian inscriptions (see also D. R. 
Bhandarkar, Carmichael Lectures, 1918, pp. 54-5). According to 
Sir Charles Eliot (Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. I, p. 268), the 
Kambojas were probably Tibetans; in another volume of the same 
work 1 he calls them an ambiguous race who were perhaps the 
inhabitants of Tibet or its border lands. M. Foucher in his 
Iconographie Bauddhique (p. 134) points out that the Nepalese 
tradition applies the name Kambojadesa to Tibet. Doubtful 
would be the attempt to connect Cambyses (O.P. Ka(m)bujiya) with 
the frontier people of Kamboja. 2 Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhun 3 points 
out that from a passage of the Mahdbharata we learn that a place 
called Rajapura was the home of the Kambojas [Mbh., VII, 4-5, 
' Karna Rdjapuram gatvd Kamboja nirjitastyaya). The association 
of the Kambojas' with the Gandharas enables us to identify this 
Rajapura with Rajapura of Hsiian Tsang (Walters, On Yuan Chwang, 
Vol. I, p. 284), which lay to the S. or S.E. of Punach. 4 

Panini belonged to the north-west quarter of India and hence had 
an accurate knowledge of the customs and dress of the Kambojas. 
The Mayuravyamiahddigana of Panini speaks of the Kambojas as 
munda or shaven-headed. ' Apparently the Kambojas were in the 
habit of completely shaving their heads, as would also appear from 
a passage quoted by Raghunandana from the Harivamsa and pointed 
out by Max Muller 3 : 'The Sakas (Scythians) have half their head 
shorn, the Yavanas (Greeks?) and Kambojas the whole, the Paradas 
(inhabitants of Paradene) wear their hair free, and the Pahlavas 
(Persians) wear beards'. . 

Coming to the Pali Buddhist literature we find the Kamboja 
country spoken of several times in the canonical texts as one of the 
sixteen great States (Mahdjanapadas) that were most prominent m 
India about the time of the Buddha (see, e.g. Anguttara Nikaya, 
Vol. I, p. 213; Vol. IV, p. 252-6). 

1 Vol. in, p. 6. 

2 Cambridge History of India, Ancient India, p. 334. f-n- 

3 Political History of India from the accession of Pankshit to the coronation of 
Bimbisdra, p. 77. • 

* R D. Banerjee refers to a Kamboja or Cambodia on the east side of 
Samatata (Bengal), which must be identical with Sir Charles Eliot's Camboja, as 
distinct from Kamboja. 

5 History of Ancient Sanskrit Literatu-re, p. 28. 


In the Harivamsa, we find that the people of Kamboja were 
formerly Ksatriyas.' It was Sagara who caused them to give up 
their own religion {Harivamsa, 14). From verses 43 and 44 of 
Chap. X of the Manusamhitd, we find that the Kambojas, Sakas, 
Yavanas, and other Ksatriya tribes were gradually degraded to _ the 
condition oi Sfidras on account of their omission of the sacred rites, 
and of their not consulting the Brahmins. Kautilya's Arthasastra 
states that the corporations of warriors (ksatriya-srent) of Kamboja 
and other countries lived by agriculture, trade and profession of arms 
(Vartasastwpajroin). 1 

The horses of Kamboja were famous throughout all periods of 
Indian history. In the Sumangalavilasim , Kamboja is spoken of as 
the home of horses {Kamboja assanani dvatanam).- The Mahabharata 
is full of references to the excellent horses of Kamboja. In the 
Sabhaparvan (51, 4), we read that the king of Kamboja presented to 
Yudhisthira three hundred horses of variegated colours, speckled like 
the partridge and having fine noses like the suka bird. In the 
great battle of Kuruksetra, the fast and powerful horses of Kamboja 
were of the utmost service. 3 

The Jaina Uttaradhyayana Sutra * tells us that a trained 
Kambojan horse excels all other horses in speed, and no noise can 
frighten it. In the Campeyya Jataka 5 we read that a king of Kasi, 
being requested by a Naga king to visit his abode, ordered well- 
trained Kambojan horses to be yoked to his chariot. 8 Visnuvardhana, 
who later became ruler of Mysore, owned Kambojan horses, which 
were evidently much coveted for their speed. 7 The Atthakatha on 
the Kunala jataka furnishes us with the interesting piece of informa- 
tion that the Kambojas were in the habit of capturing horses in the 
forest by tempting them into an enclosed space by means of aquatic 
plants which they smeared with honey. 8 

In the Raghuvamia, Kalidasa makes Raghu meet the Kambojas 
after defeating the Hunas on the bank of the Vahksu or the Oxus. 
The Kambojas, being unable to meet the prowess of Raghu, bowed 
low before him, just as their walnut trees were bent down on account 
of Raghu's elephants being tied to them. An immense treasure 
including excellent horses was offered as tribute to Raghu by the 
Kambojas. 9 

1 Arthasastra. trsl. bv Shama Shastri, p. 455. 2 I, 124. 

a See, e.g. Mbh., Bfosmaparvan, 71, 13; 90, 3'. Dronaparvan, 22, 7; 22, 22-3; 
22, 42; Karnaparvan , 38, 13; Stnipiikaparvan, 13, 12. 
* Jaina SiUras, S.B.E., pt. II, p- 47. 

6 Jdtaka (tausboll), Vol. IV, p. 464. 6 See also Mnimvastn, II, p. 185. 

» S. K. Aivangar, Ancient India, p. 236. 
s Jataka, V, 446. 9 Ragkuvamsa, IV, 69-70. 


The Kambojas occupy a prominent place among the Ksatriya 
tribes of the MahabMrata. In the geographical enumeration of the 
peoples of India, the Kambojas are located in the north. 1 They 
were the allies of Duryodhana, and by their bravery, and especially 
through the prowess of their king Sudaksina, they rendered great 
service to the Kuru side in the Kuruksetra war. Sudaksina was 
one of the few Maharathas or great heroes in the field. 

Drupada advised Yudhisthira to ask the Kambojas and other 
tribes on the western frontiers for their assistance, 3 but the Pandavas 
were not able to obtain their alliance. Duryodhana was more 
successful, perhaps through his kinship with the neighbouring 
Gandharas, and later boasted to the Pandavas of his alliance with the 
Kambojas and other northern peoples.' He gives an important 
place to the Kambojas by mentioning them together with the 
greatest heroes on his side (see Mbh., Chap. 160, 40). Bhisma too 
extols the prowess of the Kamboja king, Sudaksina, of whom he 
says, ' In my opinion Sudaksina of Kamboja is equal to one Hatha. 
The best of the chariot-warriors under him are strikers with fierce 
force. The Kambojas, O great king, will cover the land like a swarm 
of locusts' (MM., Vdyogapanan, Chap. 165, 1-3). 

When the Kaurava army took up their position on the held, the 
Kambojas occupied the van of Duryodhana's army, along with the 
home forces of the Pauravas themselves. We are told: The 
Pauravas, the Kalingas and the Kambojas with their king Sudaksina 
and Ksemadhanva and Salya took up their positions m front of 
Duryodhana' [Mbh., Bhismaparvan, Chap. 17, 26-7). 

The Kambojas appear to have been consistently m the thickest 
of the fight. 4 Their king Sudaksina was eventually killed in a duel 
with Arjuna. The verses which'describe him as he lay slain on the 
battle-field are worth quoting for their poetic imagery: 'Like a 
charming Karm'kara tree,— which in the spring grows gracefully on 
the top of a hill, with beautiful branches— lying m the grove when 
uprooted by the tempest, the prince of the Kambojas, accustomed 
to sleep on the most precious bed, lay lifeless on the bare ground_ 
Adorned with precious ornaments, graceful, possessing eyes of 
coppery hue, wearing around his head a tiara of gold radiant hke the 
fiames of fire, the mighty armed Sudaksina, prince of the Kambojas, 
felled by Partha with his arrows, and lying dead on the ground, 
appeared beautiful hke a charming hill with a flat summit'. 6 

V^h^BMimipmn, Chap. 9. • Mbh.,, 18. 

..>'.""'.' ' > ''"' )■ 

• See BUsmaparvun, Chap. 45, 66-8: Chap. 56, 7 ; Chap. 75, 17 ; Chap. 87 10; also 
Dronaparvan, Chap. 7, 14; 10, 7. 

5 Mbh., Droyaparwn, Chap. 92, 61-75. 


In the fierce battle that ensued, when Satyaki, urged on by 
Yudhisthira, was following in the track of Arjuna, the Kambojas 
arrested his progress. Then, we are told, Satyaki slew thousands of 
the Kambojas, worked havoc among them, and pressed onward. 1 

Again, when Karna assumed the leadership of the Kuru army, 
the Kambojas were there taking an active part by his side 2 ; and 
even after Sudaksina's younger brother had laid down his life for the 
cause, s we still hear of the Kambojas delivering an attack on Arjuna. 4 

We thus find the Kambojas leading a large army to the field of 
Kuruksetra and laying down their lives like the valiant Ksatriyas. 
Afterwards it appears from the later sections of the Mahabhdrata, 
viz. the Sdnti and Anusdsanika parvans, that their country had been 
overrun by barbarous hordes, so that the ancient Ksatriya population 
was overwhelmed, and we find the Kambojas ranked with, the 
Yavanas and looked down upon as one of the barbarous peoples. 
Thus a verse of the Santiparvan enumerates the Kambojas along 
with many peoples not included in what we may call ' Indo- Aryan 
society ' , b and in another chapter they are placed among the barbarous 
peoples of the Uttarapatha (northern regions). 6 The Anusdsanika- 
parvan (33, 21) speaks of the Kambojas as having been degraded 
to the rank of Sudras for want of Brahmanas in their country . These 
passages go to show that at the time when these parvans were 
added to the Epic, the Kambojas were losing touch with Brahmanical 
society, probably owing to admixture with uncivilised invaders from 
the North. 

Turning to the other great epic, we read in the Adi Kanda of 
the Rdmdyana that the Kambojas were created by the divine cow 
Sabala, at the request of Vashistha (20-24). Tlie Kiskindhyd 
Kanda (Chap. 43) tells us that Sugriva sent a monkey named 
Sugriva to North India in search of Kamboja and other countries 

The Vdyupurana informs us that after killing the Haihayas, 
King Sagara was engaged in annihilating the Kambojas, Sakas, 
Yavanas, Pahlavas and others. All these tribes, however, secured 
the aid of Vashistha, Sagara's spiritual preceptor. Listening to the 
words of Vashistha, Sagara set the Kambojas free after having com- 
pletely shaven' their heads (Vahgavasi Edition, Chap. 88). It is 
stated in the Harivamsa that the Iksvaku King Vahu was dethroned 
by Kambojas and others (Chaps. 13, 14). 

1 Mbh., Chap. Ill, 59-60; Dronaparvan, 119, 51; ri8, 9. 

2 Ibid., Karnaparvan, Chap. 46, 15. 

3 Ibid., Karnaparvan, Chap. 56. 

* Ibid., Chap. 88. See also Sdlyaparvan, Chap. I, 26; Chap. 8, 25. 

6 Ibid., Santiparvan, Chap. 65, 14. 8 Ibid., 207, 43-4. 


In the Jatakas we read that the Kambojas were a N.W. 
tribe who were supposed to have lost their original Aryan customs 
and to have become barbarous. 1 In the Bhuridatta Jataka we find 
that many Kambojas who were not Ariyas falsely held that peoples 
were purified by killing insects, snakes, frogs, etc. 2 It is stated in 
the Sasanavamsa* that in the 235th year of the Buddha's 
Parinibbana, the Thera Maharakkhita went to the Yonaka province 
and established the Buddha's doctrine in Kamboja and other places. 
In other passage of the Sasanavamsa, we find the sou of the king of 
Kamboja referred to as a Buddhist monk, Tamalinda, who sailed 
from Ceylon to India with the Thera Uttarajiva.* Also in the 
Sasanavamsa, we read of Sirihamsya, who came from Kamboja and 
conquered the city of Ratanapura. Fearing the increasing power and 
influence of the Buddhist monks, which might become a danger if 
they turned their minds to secular objects, he determined on a whole- 
sale slaughter. He invited all the great theras of Jeyyapura, 
Vijayapura and Ratanapura together with their disciples, to meet 
him in the forest Ton-bhI-luh ; and there he caused them, to the 
number of 3,000, to be surrounded and slain by his army. Many 
shrines were demolished and books burnt at the same time. 6 

The Emperor Asoka sent missionaries to the nations on the 
borders of his empire, viz. the Kambojas, Yavanas, etc., with the 
object of converting them to Buddhism. He celebrates their con- 
version to the true Dhamma in Rock Edict XIII (see V. A. Smith, 
Asoka, p. 168) ; while Rock Edict V tells us that Censors were created 
by Asoka for the establishment of the law of piety, for the increase 
of the law, and for the welfare and happiness of the Kambojas, 
Gandharas and others living on the W. frontier of his dominions. 

In the ninth century A.D. the Kambojas are said to have been 
defeated bv Devapala, the great king of the Pala dynasty of Bengal. 8 
But during the latter part of the 10th century the tables were 
turned, and the rule of the Pala kings of Bengal was interrupted by 
the Kambojas, who set up one of their chiefs as king. 7 In a place 
called Vanagarh in Dinajpur, Bengal, mention is made of a certain 
king of Gauda, born in the Kamboja family. It is probable that the 
Kambojas first attempted to conquer Gauda during the reign of 
Devapala, but were defeated at that time. 8 R. P. Chanda surmises 

1 Jataka (Fausboll), VI, p. 208 ; Ibid. (Cowell), VI, p. no, f.n. 2. 

'- Ibid. (Eausboll), Vol. VI, pp. 208, 210. 

■ Sasanavamsa, P.T.S. Ed., 49. * P- «* RT " S " edltl0D - 

s Ibid. (P.T.S.), p. 100. 

s R. D. Banerjee, Vangalar Itihasa, p. 182. 

t V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 414. 

s Banerjee, Vangalar Itihasa, p. 184. 


that in the middle of the tenth century A.D., the Kambojas again 
attacked North Bengal, and that its present inhabitants (of Koch, 
Mech, and Palia) are descended from them. 1 The Kamboja rulers 
were expelled by Mahipala I, the ninth king of the Pala line, who is 
known to have been reigning in A.D. 1026, and may be assumed 
to have regained his ancestral throne about A.D. 978 or 980. a 

1 Banerjee, Vdngalar Itihasa, p. 205. 

2 V". A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., pp. 414-15. 


Gandhara formed an integral part of India from the earliest 
epoch of Indo-Aryan civilisation, and is unique among the countries 
of India, in that its history may be traced in unbroken continuity 
from Rigvedic times down to the present day l (Rapson, Ancient 
India, p. 81). The Gandharis 2 or people of Gandhara are men- 
tioned in the hymns of the Rgveda, while the name Gandhara 
occurs in the other Vedas, and in the Epics and Puranas as well as 
the Buddhist books. 

Gandhara was on the N.W. frontiers of India in the 
neighbourhood of the Kambojas, Madras and similar other tribes, 
but there are differences of opinion among scholars with regard to 
its exact boundaries. It is generally accepted that Gandhara 
denotes the region comprising the modern districts of Peshawar 
in the N.W. Frontier Province and Rawalpindi in the Punjab; 
bnt in the Old Persian inscriptions it seems to include also the 
district of Kabul in Afghanistan (see Rapson, Ancient India, 
p. 8l). Rhys Davids {Buddhist India, p. 28) says that Gandhara 
(modern Kandahar) 3 was the district of E. Afghanistan, probably 
including the N.W. Punjab. Vincent Smith apparently concurs 
with this view, saying that Gandhara was equivalent to the 
N.W. Punjab and the adjoining regions. 4 Dr. S. K. Aiyangar 
holds that Gandhara was equivalent to E. Afghanistan, extending 
from the Afghan mountains to the district somewhat to the East of 
the Indus {Ancient India, p. 7). According to Dr. D. R. 
Bhandarkar, Gandhara included the western Punjab and E. 
Afghanistan. Its capital was Takshaslla where ruins are spread near 
Saraikala in the Rawalpindi District of the Punjab. 5 In the Ain-i- 
Akbari, Gandhara forms the district of Pukely lying between Kashmir 
and Attock. Gandhara, says N. L. Dey, comprised the modern 
districts of Peshawar and Hoti Murdan or what is called the Eusofzai 

. . , Ancient India, 81. 

! Gandhari is the Vedic fin, later supplanted by Gandhara. 

* There is no proved etymological connection between the nam 
Gandhara. See MeCrindle, Ptolemy, p. it6. 

* V. A. Smith, Atoka, 170. 

6 Carmtchael Lectures, 1918, p. 54. 


country. 1 Cunningham, relying on the narratives of the Chinese 
pilgrims, Fa Hien and Hsiian Tsang, gives the following boundaries 
to Gandhara (Chinese Kien-to-ld) : Laghman and Jalalabad on the 
west, the hills of Swat and Bunir on the N., the Indus on the E., 
and the hills of Kalabagh on the South (Ancient Geography, p. 48; 
and see McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, p. 116). 
According to Strabo, the country of the Gandarai, which he calls 
Gandaritis, lay between the Khoaspes (Kunar) and the Indus, and 
along the river Kophes (Kabul). The name is not mentioned by 
any of the historians of Alexander, but it must have been known to 
the Greeks as early as the time of Hekataios, who calls Kaspapyros 
a 'Gandaric city'. Herodotus mentions the Gandarioi. 2 Rennell 
placed them to the west of Baktria in the province afterwards called 
Margiana, while Wilson took them to be the people south of the 
Hindu Kush, from about the modern Kandahar to the Indus, and 
extending into the Punjab and to Kashmir (Ancient India as 
described by Ptolemy — McCrindle, pp. 115-6). In some books, the 
name 'Cave country' was applied to Gandhara (Watters, On Yuan 
Chwang, Vol. I, p. 200). 

From the above observations, and also from the various references 
to Gandhara in Indian literature, it appears that the boundaries of 
the country varied at different periods in its history. At one time 
it appears to have included the Afghan District round Kandahar, 
but afterwards it receded to the mountains on the Indian frontier. 

In the Rgveda the long wool of the sheep reared by the Gandharis 
is referred to by Lomasa, the queen of King Bhavya or Bhavayavya, 
who ruled on the banks of the Sindhu (Indus); she says to her 
husband, 'I am covered with down like a ewe of the Gandharins' 
[Rgveda, I, pp. 126, 7; Wilson's Trans., II, p. 78). From the facts 
that the verse is brought in very abruptly and that it is in a metre 
different from the rest of the hymn, Wilson observes that it is 
'probably a fragment of some old popular song' (Trsl., p. 19). This 
would, therefore, attribute a knowledge of the Gandharis to the Vedic 
Aryans in very ancient times. 

A hymn in the Atharvaveda consigns Takman or fever to the 
Gandharis along with other people like the Mujavants, the Angas 
and the Magadhas. The authors of the Vedic Index explain this 
mention of two northern peoples (the Gandharis and Mujavants) 

1 Discoveries have been made in this district of Buddhist architecture and 
sculpture of the time of Kanishka (first century A.D.). See H. t, Dey, Geographical 
Dictionary, p. 23. 

a Book III, c. xd. He describes them as being clad in cotton garments, and 
bearing bows of reed, and arrows tipped with iron. See Rapson, Ancient India, 
p. 87; and McCrindle, p. 116. 


with two eastern tribes (Afigas and Magadhas), by noting that ' the 
latter two tribes are apparently the Eastern limit of the poet's 
knowledge; the two former the Northern'. 1 

In- the Brahmana literature also we find mention of the Gandharis 
(e.g. Chandogya Upanisad, 6, 14 — the familiar example of the man 
who is led blind-folded" from the land of the Gandharas, and has to 
find his way back by asking directions from village to village). 

The Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 34} mentions Nagnajit, a king of 
Gandhara, among the Vedic teachers who propagated the Soma-cult, 
— so it is evident that Gandhara was not excluded from Vedic 
'Aryandom'. In the &ataf>aiha Brahmana (VIII, 1, 4, 10) also 
we find King Svarjit Nagnajita or Nagnajit of Gandhara referred 
to,— though in this case his opinion on_a point of ritual is treated 
with scant respect as he was merely a Rajanya-bandhu, i.e. belonging 
to the princely order, and not a Rsi. But this King Nagnajit is 
mentioned with great regard and respect in later literature from the 
great Epic onwards, 2 and in a technical book on painting he is 
quoted as the originator of that art. 8 

Coming to the next period of Vedic literature, viz. the period 
of the Sutras, we find the people of Gandhara mentioned in the 
Srauta-Stitras of BaudMyana, Apastamba and HiranyakesI, along 
with other Aryan peoples of the east and the west.* 

The Mahabharata contains many legends about Gandhara. In 
the Idiparvan we find that Dhrtarastra, king of the Kurus, married 
the daughter of Suvala, 5 King of Gandhara, and 100 sons were born 
to them (Chap. 10, p. 118; Chap. 63, p. 72). A princess of Gandhara 
was one of the wives of Ajamidha who was the originator of the 
Kuru family. Gandhara, it is said, was named after this Gandhari 
{Idiparvan, Chap. 95, p. 105). In the Udyogaparvan we find that 
King Yayati sent his son Yadu into exile in Gandhara, because he 
began to disregard his Ksatriya superiors, becoming vain on account 
of his strength (Chap. 149, p. ffj). In the Dronaparvan it is said 
that Kama brought Gandhara under the sway of Duryodhana 
(Chap. 4, p. 997); while in the Asvamedhaparvan we read that 
Ariuna went to the Punjab (Pancanada), where he had a hard fight 
with the son of Sakuni, King of Gandhara. The Gandharan army 

1 Vedic Index, I, p. 219. ..-,:. , , ^ «.- 

* In the Kumbhakam Jataka, for example, it is said that he ruled over Gandhara 
and Kashmir, and later became a monk. 

3 DohtmmU for Inimhen Kttnst, ErsUs Heft, Maleret, des aim Laksana, 
edited bv Berthold Laufer. _ . ___ , 

* Baudhayana Srauta Sutra, XXI, r 3 ; Apastamba Srauta Sutra, XXII, 6. 18, 
Hiranyakeil Srauta Sutra, XVII, 6. 

s Suvala is also mentioned in the Sabhapawan (Chap. 34. P- z 45)- 


was put to flight, bat Arjuna spared the life of Sakuni's son 
(Chaps. 83-4, pp. 2093-4). 

It would be wearisome to recount in detail all the references 
from the Mahabhdrata to the actions of the Gandharas in the long- 
drawn-out battle of Kuruksetra. We may note, however, that the 
Gandharas, led by their King 6akuni, made up a powerful division 
of the Kuru army." When at the commencement of the battle 
Duryodhana came out in procession at the head of his vast army, 
Sakuni's contingent of hill troops {pdrvatiya) surrounded him on all 
sides. 1 This would seem to indicate that the warriors from the hills 
of Gandhara were the most trusty of Duryodhana's soldiers, for they 
were chosen to form his bodyguard. After various adventures 
(BMsmaparvan, Chap. 46, p. 76; Chap. 51, p. 14; Chap. 58, pp. 7-10), 
the Gandharas on the 5th day of the battle, together with the 
Kambojas, Madras and other peoples of the N.W. frontier made an 
onset against Arjuna, under the lead of Sakuni (BMsmaparvan, 
Chap. 71, pp. 13-17)- The Gandharas and their princes further 
distinguished themselves throughout the battle (see BMsmaparvan, 
Chap. 90; Dronafiarvan, Chap. 20; Chap. 29, pp. 2-27; Chap. 48, 
p. 7; Chap. 85," pp. 16-17; &alyafarvan, Chap. 8, p. 26). Evidently 
great reliance was placed on their prowess, and perhaps especially 
on their fast horses; for it appears that, like their neighbours, the 
Kambojas, the Gandharas reared a large number of horses in their 
country, and their troops fought for the most part on horseback. 
References which do not give them credit are, e.g. Karnaparvan, 
Chap. 44, p. 46 and Chap. 45, p. 8, where Karna says that the 
Gandharas along with the other races on the N.W. frontier are men 
of disgusting practices and customs; and ibid., Chap. 95, p. 6, 
where it is said that Sakuni cravenly fled from the field, surrounded 
by thousands of the Gandharas (Cf. also Dronaparvan, Chap. 29, 
pp. 2-27). 

Gandhara is also mentioned in the Puranas. According to the 
Matsva, Vayu and Visnu Puranas, 2 a certain Gandhara was born 
in the family of Druhyitj one of the sons of Vayati, and the kingdom 
of Gandhara was named after him. According to the Bhagavata and 
Brahma Puranas? Gandhara was fourth in the Hue of descent from 
Dnihyu. Gandhara had four children, namely, Dharma, Dhrti, 
Durgam and Praceta. 4 Praceta had 100 sons who, being the kings 
of the Mleccha country, conquered the north (Visnupurana, 4th 

1 Bhismaparvan, 20, 8 ; see also ibid.. Chap. 16, p. 28. 

2 Maisyapurann, 48; Viiyufmwna, w f ; Visnupurana, 4th Aiika, Chap. 17. 
a 9th Skandha, Chap. 23 (Bhagavata) ; Chap. 13 (Brahma). 

* According to the Maisyapurana, three children: Dharma, Vidusa and 


Anka, Chap. 17). Mention is also made of the Gandhara people in 
Varahamihira's Brhatsamhita (Kern's Edition, p. 92}. 

Turning from legend or semi-legend to fact, we note that in the 
days of Asoka and some of his immediate successors, Gandhara was 
one of the most nourishing seats of Buddhism. We learn from 
Rock Edict V that Asoka appointed Dharma-mahamatras (high 
officers in the department of dharma or religious conduct) to further 
the welfare and happiness of the Gandharas. 1 Fa-Hien, the Chinese 
pilgrim, who visited India at the beginning of the fifth century A.D., 
relates that Gandhara was the place where Dharrnavivatdhana, son 
of Asoka, ruled. Here the Buddha, when a Bodhisattva, was 
supposed to have given his eyes for another man. 2 Buddhist 
scholastic philosophy reached its culmination in the fifth century 
A.D., at the time when two famous Gandharans, Asahga and 
Vasubandhu, nourished. Asanga, at first an adherent of the semi- 
orthodox Mahisasakas, later became a great teacher of Yogacara. 
Vasubandhu likewise became a convert to Mahayanism; he was 
celebrated as the author of the Abhidharmakosa. Other notable 
Buddhist scholars who made Gandhara, and particularly its capital 
Taksasila (Taxila) famous throughout India were Dhammapala, s 
Yasadatta, 4 and Ahgulimala. 5 For legendary accounts of Gandhara 
as associated with Buddhism, see, e.g. Gandhara Jataka, Sasana- 
vamsa (P.T.S., p. 12), Divyavadana (Cowell and Neil, pp. 60-1). 

Hsiian Tsang, who visited India in the seventh century A.D., has 
left an interesting account of Gandhara. He records the ruined 
state of monasteries and shrines which two centuries before showed 
no traces of decay. The kingdom of Gandhara, according to him, was 
about 1,000 li 6 from north to south. On the east it bordered on 
the river Sin (= Sindhu). The capital was called Po-lu-sha-pu-lo, 
i.e. Purusapura, and was about 40 li in circuit. The royal family 
was extinct, and the kingdom was governed by deputies from 
Kapisa. The towns and villages were deserted; but the country was 
rich in cereals, producing a variety of flowers and fruits, and abound- 
ing in sugarcane. The Chinese pilgrim goes on to say: 'The climate 
is warm and moist. The disposition of the people is timid and soft; 
they love literature, and while most of them belong to heretical 
schools, a few believe in the true law (i.e. Buddhism) '. In the town 
of P'i-lo-tu-lo (i.e. Salatula), he observes, Panini was born (see 
Buddhist Records of the Western World (Beal), Vol. I, pp. 97-8; p. 114). 

1 Cf. Chapter on Kambojas. 

2 Legge, Travels of Fa-Hien, pp. 31-2. 

3 Psalms of the Brethren, p. 149. i Ibid., p. 20r. 

« Ibid., pp. 319 et seq. s One li = approx. 576 metres. 


The early capital cities of Gandhara (each being the centre of its 
own kingdom) were Puskalavati or PuskaravatI, and Taksaslla 
(Taxila),— the former being situated to the west and the latter to 
the east of the Indus. It would appear that in early times the 
Gandhara territory lay on both sides of the Indus, but was later 
confined to the western side (McCrindle, p. 115). As we have just 
seen, Hsiian Tsang knew Purusapura (= Peshawar) as the capital; 
and yet another city, namely, Kapisa, was a Gandharan capital 
during the days of Greek rule. 1 

According to Cunningham, the most ancient capital of Gandhara 
was PuskaravatI, which is said to have been founded by Puskara, 
son of Bharata and nephew of Rama. 2 Puskalavatl's antiquity is 
undoubted, as it was the capital of an Indian Prince named Hasti 
(Greek Astes) at the time of Alexander's expedition (326 B.C.). It 
is called Peukelaotis by Arrian and Peukalei by Dionysius Periegetes. 
Together with Taksaslla, Puskalavati came under the Saka rule 
during the reign of Maues 3 (c. 75 B.C.). Taranatha mentions the 
town as a royal residence of Kaniska's son (Vincent Smith, Early 
History of India, 4th Ed., p. 277, f.n. 1). 

Shi-slii-ch'eng, the Chinese name for Taksaslla, the Eastern 
capital of Gandhara, means 'severed head'. The legend goes that 
when the Buddha was a Bodhisattva in this city, he gave his head 
away in charity, and the city took its name from this circumstance. 4 
The city as described by Arrian was great, wealthy and populous. 
Strabo and Hsiian Tsang praise the fertility of its soil. Pliny calls 
it a famous city, and states that it was situated on a level where the 
hills sank down into the plains. About 80 years after Taksaslla 's 
submission to Alexander, it was taken by Asoka; while by the 
early part of the second century B.C. it had become a province of 
the Graeeo-Baktrian monarchy, — only to be conquered in 126 B.C. S 
by the Indo-Skythian Sus or Abars, who retained it until it was 
taken from them by a different tribe of the same nationality, under 
Kaiiiska (c. 78 B.C.). About the middle of the first century A.D. it 
is said to have been visited by Apollonius of Tyana and his com- 
panion Damis, who described it as being about the size of Nineveh, 
walled lik e a Greek city, with narrow but well-arranged streets. 
Taksasfla must have been destroyed long before the Muhammadan 

., Ancient India, pp. 133, 141 -2. 
'■ Visnupurana, Wilson's Edition, Vol. IV, Ch. 4. 

3 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 560; see also Brown, Coins of India, 

4 I^egge, Fd-Hien, p. 32. 

* But note discrepancy in dates of conquest. 


invasion, for it is not mentioned by any Muhammadan author who 
has written upon India. 1 

Cunningham says that the site of Taksasila is found near Shah- 
Dheri just one mile to the N.E. of Kala-ka-sarai, in the extensive 
ruins of a fortified city around which he was able to trace no less than 
55 stupas (of which two are as large as the great Manikyala tope), 28 
monasteries and 9 temples. Now the distance from Shah-Dhen to 
Ohind is 36 miles, and from Ohind to Hashtnagar another 38, making 
74 miles in all,— which is 19 in excess of the distance between Taxila 
and Peukelaotis (PuskalavatI) as recorded by Pliny. To reconcile 
the discrepancy, Cunningham suggests that Pliny's 60 miles or LX 
should be read as 80 miles or I V XXX, which is equivalent to 73J 
English miles or within half a mile of the actual distance between 
the two places (Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 105). 
Dr. Bhandarkar says 2 that in Asoka's time Taksasila does not appear 
to have been the capital of Gandhara, for from his Rock Edict XIII 
it seems that Gandhara was not in his dominions proper, but was 
feudatorv to him; while from the Kalinga Edict I, we learn that 
Taksasila^ was directly under him, as one of his sons^vas stationed 
there. The deduction that Taksasila was not the capital of Gandhara 
at that time is confirmed by Ptolemy's statement that the Gandarai 
(Gandhara) country was situated to the west of the Indus with its 
city Proklais, i.e. Puskaravati. s 

Taksasila was visited by Hsiian Tsang in the seventh century 
A.D. (when it was a dependency of Kashmir). 4 

Taksasila figures prominently in Buddhist and Jain stories. It 
was associated with Mahavira, the founder of Jainism s (see Heart of 
Jainism by Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, p. 80, f.n.), and with traditions 
regarding the Buddha. It is stated in the Dlpavamsa that a Ksatnya 
prince named Dipamkara, and his sons and grandsons governed their 
great kingdom in Taksasila 6 (Pali Takkhasila). In the Dutiyapalayt 
Jataka we find that King Gandhara ( = the Gandharan) of Taksasila 
attacked and surrounded Benares with his four-fold army, and 
boasted that nobody would be able to defeat him. But the King of 
Benares said to him: 'I shall destroy your army like mad elephants 
destroying a nalavana (bamboo grove) '. King Gandhara forthwith 

1 See McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, pp. 119 et seq. 

2 Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p. 54, f.n. 

a See also Fd-Hien's Travels (Legge's Ed.), pp. 31-2 where the traveller dis- 
tinguishes Takkhasila from Gandhara. 

* V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th edition, p. 368. waiters, On Yuan 
Chwang, Vol. I, p. 240. 

5 S. Stevenson, Heart of Jainism, p. 80, f.n. 

6 Dipavamsa, ed. Oldenberg, III, 31. 


fled, terrified, to his own kingdom.' But we find the situation 
reversed in the Palayi Jataka: Brahmadatta, King of Benares, 
leads an army to TaksasHa, but is so struck by the splendour of the 
city gate, which he mistakes for a palace, that he does' not dare to 
make an attack on so mighty a king (the king being pictured as the 
Bodhisattva), and returns baffled to his own country.* 

Taksasila. was a great seat of learning in Ancient India. Various 
arts and sciences were taught there, and pupils from different parts 
of India would flock to the city for instruction. 8 Here also magic 
charms 4 and spells for understanding the cries of animals B were 
taught. According to Jataka (IV, 391), only Brahmans and 
Ksatriyas were admitted to the university. The details of Taxila's 
importance as a seat of learning have been given by me elsewhere, 6 
and a brief notice is all that is necessary here. 

As regards the authentic political history of Gandhara itself, as 
distinct from that of its capitals, we find that in the Buddha's time 
Pukkusati, King of Gandhara, is said to have sent an embassy and a 
letter to King Bimbisara (Skt. Bindiisara) of Magadha. 7 Prof. 
Rapson states* 8 that Gandhara was in all probability conquered by 
Cyrus (558-530 B.C.}, and remained a Persian province for about 
two centuries. After the downfall of the Persian empire in 331 
B.C., it came under the sway of Alexander the Great, together with 
the Persian province of 'India' or 'the country of the Indus'. 
Through Gandhara and the 'Indian' province was exercised the 
Persian influence which so greatly modified the civilisation of N.W. 
India. Later, as we have seen, Gandhara was feudatory to Asoka, 
but it declared its independence shortly after his death, — only to fall 
very soon tinder the sway of the Greek kings. 9 According to 
Whitehead, 10 it was Euthydemos (circa. 230-195 B.C.) who con- 
quered Gandhara. R. D. Banerjee, however, presumes u that 
the conqueror was Diyadata (Diodotos) II, as some gold coins of his 
reign have been discovered by Sir John Marshall in the ruins of 
Taxila. Whitehead's supposition is the more probable, if we are 
to assume that Gandhara was subject to the Maurya Empire until 

1 Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. II, pp. 219-21. 

2 Ibid., pp. 217-8. 

3 See, e.g. Psalms of the Brethren, p. 136. 
* Jataka, II, No. 185, p. 100. 

5 Ibid., Ill, No. 416, p. 415. 

fi See B. C. I v aw, Historical Gleanings, Chap. I, pp. 1-8. 

7 Rliys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 28. 

8 Rapson, Ancient India, pp. 81-82. 

9 R. D. Banerjee, Vangdlar Itihdsa, pp. 31-2. 

10 Catalogue of Coins in the Punjab Museum, Lahore, Vol. I, p. 4. 

11 Pracina Mudra, p. 27. 


Asoka's death in 227 B.C., for the house of Diodotos was supplanted 
by Euthydemos in 230 B.C. 

A rival Greek prince, Eucratides (circa. 175-155 B.C.) wrested 
Gandhara, with other territories, from Demetrios, the 4th Bactrian 
king. 1 The family of Eucratides was supplanted in its turn by 6aka 
satraps in Kapisa and Taxila; but continued to hold the Kabul Valley 
until finally overpowered by the Kushanas. 2 At the end of the 
fifth century A.D., Gandhara was occupied by the Hunas. 3 After 
this, information is scanty until we come to the late 9th century, 
when Lalliya founded the Hindu Shahiya dynasty, with its capital at 
Ohind, on the Indus. 4 In the nth century (1021 A.D., according 
to Vincent Smith) Trilocanapala, the last king of the Shahiya dynasty, 
was defeated on the banks of the river Tosi by Sultan Mahmud of 
Ghazni, and after his reign no account is available of the Hindu rule 
in Gandhara, apart from the fact that his son Bhimapala regained 
his independence for five years. 5 

We may close this chapter by making one or two remarks on 
the trade relations of Gandhara, and by giving some references for 
the further study of the celebrated school of art which takes its 
name from this country. The Jatakas testify to the existence of 
trade relations between the Kashmir-Gandhara kingdom and the 
north-eastern kingdom of Videha (see, e.g. Gandhara Jdtaka and 
Fiek, The Social Organisation in N.E. India in Buddha's Time, 
p. 272). Horse-dealers figure prominently amongst the Gandharan 
traders, and we learn from the Vayupurana that the Gandharan 
horses were considered the best of all (Chap. 99) . We find references 
to the production of valuable blankets or woollen shawls (kambala) 
in the Vessantara Jdtaka (Fausboll, Jdtaka, Vol. VI, pp. 500-1), 
and also in the Suttanipdta Commentary (II, 487). In later times 
(9th and 10th centuries) it was in Gandhara that the finest ' double- 
die' coins were struck. 6 

The story of Gandhara art is a complete study in itself, and all 
we can do here is to give some references to authorities on the subject, 
for example, Vincent Smith's History oj Fine Art in India and 
Ceylon; James Eergusson's History of Indian and Eastern Architecture 
(2nd Edition, London, 1910); A. Foucher, V Art greco-bouddhique 
du Gandhara ; Sir John Marshall, A Guide to Taxila ; and contributions 
to A.S.I. (Annual Reports) by J. Ph. Vogel, D. B. Spooner, Sir John 
Marshall and A. Cunningham. 

1 See Rapsoii, Ancient India, p. 133; Brown, Coins of India, pp. 23-4. 

2 Ibid., pp. 133 and 142. 

9 V. A. Smith, Early History 0/ India, 4th Ed., p. 328. 

* Ibid., 4th Ed., p. 388. B R. D. Banerjee, Pracina Mudra, p. 198. 

H See Brown, Coins of India, p. 53. 


The Kurus form one of the most ancient and prominent of the 
Indo-Aryan Ksatriya tribes. In one of the verses of a Rigvedic 
hymn (X, 33, 4) occurs the word, Kurusravana, which is interpreted 
by some 'scholars either as 'the glory of the Kurus', or as 'the 
hearer of the praises of the Kurus' ; but is more generally taken to be 
the name of a particular king, a ruler of the Kuru tribe. In the 
hymn which follows this one, the charities of the prince Kurusravana 
are praised, and there can be no doubt that 'Kurusravana ' is here 
the name of a particular sovereign, especially as some of his ancestors 
are also mentioned (see Rgveda, X, 33, 1 and 4-9 ; Wilson, Rgveda, 
Vol. VI, pp. 89-90). The seer mourns the death of his generous 
donor, and, in the last four verses, it seems that he consoles 
Upamasravas, the son of Kurusravana, and mentions Mitratithi, 
grandfather of Upamasravas. But the Brhaddevata (supported by 
Katyay ana's Sarvanukramani) states that it was for the death of his 
grandfather Mitratithi that Upamasravas is being consoled in these 

In the same hymn, Kurusravana is also called Trasadasyava or 
'descendant of Trasadasyu'. Trasadasyu is well known in the 
Rgveda (IV, 38, 1; VII, 19, 3. etc.) as a king of the Purus. 
Trasadasyu's people, the Purus, were settled on the Sarasvati (see 
Vedic Index, I, 327), a locality which accords well with the later 
union of Purus and Kurus. According to the Vedic Index, 'it is 
likely that the Trtsu-Bharatas who appear in the Rgveda as enemies 
of the Purus, later coalesced with them to form the Kuru people', 1 
for there is evidence that the Bharatas, like the Purus, occupied 
the territory in which the Kurus were later found. Two of them are 
spoken of in a hymn of_ the Rgveda (III, 23) as having kindled tire 
on the Drsadvati, the Apaya. and the Sarasvati— that is to say, in 
the sacred places of the later Kuruksetra. 2 

Professor Keith also urges this view of the incorporation of the 
Bharatas with the Kurus in his chapter contributed to the Cambridge 
History of India (p. 118, Cam. Hist.), while Prof. Rapson concurs 
with him, observing that the Bharatas who were settled in the 

1 Vedic Index, I, 167. 

2 For further evidence of the merging of the Bharatas in the Kurus, see Vedic 
Index, I, 167-8. 


country of the Sarasvati in Rigvedic times were later merged in the 
Kurus; and that their whole territory, the new together with the old, 
became famous in history under the name 'Kuruksetra' — 'the field 
of the Kurus'. This was the scene of the great war of the des- 
cendants of Bharata, and the centre from which Indo-Aryan culture 
spread, first throughout Hindusthan, and eventually throughout the 
whole sub-continent. 1 

Another king, whose glories as a generous donor are sung in a 
hymn of the Rgveda (VIII, 23), namely Pakasthaman, is given the 
designation Kaurayana, — most probably a patronymic; while in the 
Atharvaveda (XX, 127, 8) a man called Kauravya is described as 
having enjoyed prosperity under the rule of King Pariksit. Evidently, 
therefore, the name Kuru was already applied in the early Vedic 
age to a prominent tribe of Indo-Aryan Ksatriyas. 

It is, however, in the Brahmana literature that the Kurus acquire 
the greatest prominence among the Ksatriya tribes of ancient India. 
In the Brahmana literature, the Kurus are often connected with the 
Paficalas and from the way in which the Kuru-Pancalas are men- 
tioned, there is no room for doubt that it was in the country inhabited 
by them that some of the most famous Brahmana works were 
composed. " Thus the Aitareya Brahmana in its chapter on the 
Mahabhiseka of Indra states : 'Then in this firm middle established 
quarter the Sadhyas and the Aptyas, the gods, anointed him (i.e. 
Indra) ... for kingship. Therefore in this firm middle established 
quarter, whatever kings there are of the Knru-Pancalas with the 
Vasas and Usinaras, they are anointed for kingship' {Aitareya 
Brahmana, VIII, 14, Tr. Keith, Rgveda Brahmanas, p. 331). From 
the way in which mention is made of the country of the Kuru- 
Pancalas, it is evident that the author of the Aitareya Brahmana 
was a native of that region. The authors of the Vedic Index 2 are 
of the opinion that the great Brahmanas were composed in the 
Kuru-Paheala country, though Weber s wordd suggest a different 
locality for the Tandya Mahdbrdhmana of the Samaveda, and the 
Sataftatha Brahmana of the White Yajurveda. 

Eliot points out that at the time when the Brahmanas and 
earlier Upanisads were composed (circa 800-600 B.C.), the principal 
political units were the kingdoms of the Paficalas and Kurus in the 
region of Delhi. 4 The Kurus are comparatively seldom mentioned 
alone, their name usually being coupled with that of the Pahcalas ; 
and the Kuru-Pancalas are often expressly referred to as a united 

1 Cambridge History of India, I, 47. 2 *. l6 5- 

s History of Indian Literature, pp. 68 and 132. 
* Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. I, p. 20. 


nation Speech is said to have its particular home in the Kuru- 
Pancala land ; and the mode of sacrifice of the Kuru-Pancalas is 
proclaimed to be the best. The Kuru-Pahcala Brahmins are famous 
in the Upanisads: for example, in the last kanda of the Satapatha 
Brahmana we find mention of the Brahmins of the Kuru-Pancala 
country'being invited and given huge largesses by Janaka, king of 
Videha (cf. Brhadaranyaka Up., Ill, J, i, foil.}. 

The Satapatha Brahmana (XII, 9, 3, 3) speaks of a Kauravya 
King Balhika Pratiplva (Kauravya and Kaurava being interchange- 
able' variants); while Yaska's Nirukta 1 also asserts that Devapi 
Arstisena and Santanu were Kauravyas. The Kuru kings are men- 
tioned by the name Koravya in the Pali Buddhist literature, as we 
shall show below. 

The Chandogya Upanisad, which is the remnant of an ancient 
Brahmana work belonging to the Samaveda, contains an account of 
the destruction of crops in the Kuru country by locusts or by a 
hailstorm, and it further recounts the story of how a famished Rsi 
(Usasti Cakrayana) of the Kuru land was forced to partake of food 
that was unclean, and how in spite of this temporary impurity under 
the stress of famine, the Rsi was successful in winning for himself 
the highest functions at the subsequent sacrifice performed by the 
king at Ibhyagrama (Chandogya Upanisad, 1, 10, 1-7; Sacred Books 
of the East, Vol. I, pp. 18-19). 

We have seen that the Aitareya Brahmana speaks of the country 
of the Kuru-Paflcalas as belonging to the 'dhruva madhyama dik', 
i.e., to what is known in later literature as the Madhyadesa or middle 
country. Prof. Rapson points out that the territories occupied by 
the Kurus extended to the East far beyond the limits of Kuruksetra. 
The Kurus must have occupied the northern portion of the Doab, 
or the region between the Jumna and the Ganges, having as their 
neighbours on the east the North Pancalas, and on the south, the 
South Pancalas, who held the rest of the Doab as far as the land 
of the Vatsas, the corner where the two rivers meet at Prayaga 
(Allahabad). 2 

The great law-giver Mann speaks of the country of the Kurus and 
other allied peoples (Matsyas, Pancalas and Surasenakas) as forming 
the sacred land of the Bralrmaxsis . (Brahmanical sages), ranking 
immediately after Brahmavarta {Manu, II, 17-19) . He indirectly 
praises the prowess of these peoples by saying that they should be 
placed in the van of any battle-array [Manu, VII, 193)- 

In the first verse of the Bhagavadgltd, the only book in India 
which is reverenced by people of all kinds of religious belief, the land 

1 II, 10. 2 Rapson, Ancient India, p. I&5- 


of Kurus is called Dharmaksetra, or the holy land. In other parts of 
the Mahdbhdrata, too, Kuruksetra is mentioned as a land which was 
especially holy. Thus the Vanaparvan (Chap. 129, pp. 394-5) tells 
us that Kuruksetra was the holy spot of the righteous Kurus. It was 
here that Nahusa's son, Yayati, performed many religious ceremonies, 
that divine and royal sages performed the Sarasvata Yajha, and that 
Prajapati performed his Yajiia. In the Brahmana texts also, 
Kuruksetra is regarded as a particularly sacred country, for within 
its boundaries flowed the sacred streams Drsadvati and Sarasvati, as 
well as the Apaya. 1 

The'field of the Kurus', or the region of Delhi, was the scene of 
the war between the Kurus and Pandus, in which all the nations of 
India were ranged on one side or the other, according to the Epic in 
its present form. It has been the great battle-field of India ever 
since, as it forms a narrow strip of habitable country lying between 
the Himalayas and the Indian Desert through which every invading 
army from the Punjab must force its way. Because of this strategical 
importance, Delhi became the capital of India under the Mughal 
emperors who came into India by land from the N.W. (Rapson, 
Ancient India, p. r73). 

Besides the Kurus of the Madhyadesa, we find references to 
another Kuril people, viz. the Uttara-Kurus. The Aitareya 
Brahmana mentions the country of the Uttara-Kurus in its chapter 
on the makabhiseka of Indra (Ait. Br., VIII, 14; Tr. Keith's Rgveda 
Brahmanas, pp. 330-1). The authors of the Vedic Index are of the 
opinion that the Uttara-Kurus were a historical people at the time 
when this passage of the Aitareya Brahmana was written. They 
observe : ' The Uttara-Kurus, who play a mythical part in the Epic 
and later literature, are still a historical people in the Aitareya 
Brahmana, where they are located beyond the Himalaya (parena 
Himavantam). In another passage, however, the country of the 
Uttara-Kurus is stated by Vasistha Satyahavya to be a land of the 
gods (deva-ksetra), but Janamtapi Atyarati was anxious to conquer 
it, so that it is still not wholly mythical. It is reasonable to accept 
Zimmer's view that the northern Kurus were settled in Kasmir, 
especially as Kuruksetra is the region where tribes advancing from 
Kasmir might naturally be found. 2 

In Buddhist literature, Uttara-Kuru is very often mentioned as a 
mytliic region, but there are some passages which go to show that 
there was a faint memory of a country that once had a historical 
existence [see, e.g. the reference to 'Kurudlpa', DTpavamsa, p. 16; 
and the statement in the Sdsanavamsa (p. 12) that the place of the 

1 Vedic Index, I, p. 169. B Ibid., I, p. 84. 


inhabitants of Uttaradvlpa is called the kingdom oi Knrus (Ktmh 
rail SJjp'g^a,^,, Kurus are mentioned in the PapaicasMani 
IP T S edition p. 225), while the Angullara Nikaya tells us that 
Kuru was one of the sixteen mahajanapadas or prominent countries 
of Tambudipa (= India), having abundant food and wealth, and the 
'seven kinds of gems'.' In Buddhist literature, as in the Brfihmana 
literature the Knrus arc comparatively seldom mentioned alone, 
their name being usually coupled with that of the Pancalas vVe 
read in the Papaiicasudani that there was no vthara for the Buddha s 
habitation in the Kuril kingdom, but that there was a beautiful 
forest outside the town of Kammasadhamma where he used to dwell. 
We are told further that the inhabitants of the Kuru kingdom 
enioved good health, and their mind was always ready to receive 
instruction in profound religious truths, because the climate was 
bracing at all seasons, and the food was good. The Buddha delivered 
some profound and learned discourses to the Kurus eg the 
Mahamdana and Mahasatipatthana Suttautas of the Digha Nikaya. 
(For fanciful stories of the Kurus' meditation on Satipatthana, see 
further Pafiaiicisudjni, P.T.S., pp. 227-9.) 

The Buddhist literature is full of stories in which the land ot Kuru 
and its princes and people play a leading part. For instance, the 
Thera Ratthapala, who contributed some verses to the Tneragatha, 
was born in the town of Thullakotthika in the country of the Kurus, 
and we are told that he converted the King ' Koravya ' to Buddhism.' 
The Dhammapada Commentary relates the story of Aggidatta, the 
chaplain of the king of Kosala (Mahakosala, predecessor of Pasenadi). 
After his retirement, Aggidatta dwelt on the borders of the Kuru 
country and Anga-Magadha, together with his 10,000 disciples; and 
the inhabitants of these countries used to supply the whole company 
with food and drink. Eventually Aggidatta and all his followers were 
converted by the Buddha. B ....Jl 

In the Therigatha commentary (p. 87) we read that a then 
named Nanduttara was reborn in a Brahmin family in the city of 
Kammasadamma (or Kammasadhamma) 111 the kingdom of the 
Kurus. She first became a Jain, but was later converted by 
Mabakaccayana, accepted ordination from him, and attained arahant- 
ship In the Paramattkadipani (pp. 201-4) we have an account of 
the miseries suffered after death by a certain Serini, a heretical woman 
of the Kuru capital. 

1 Anguttara Nikaya, Vol. I, p. 2r3; Vol. IV, pp. 252, 256 and 260; 
DTgka Nikaya, II, pp. 200, 201 and 203. 

2 Psalms of the Brethren, pp. 302-7; Majjhima Nikaya, II, pp. 65 el seq. 

3 See Dhammapada Cnmm., Vol. Ill, pp. 241-2; 246-7. 


Returning to the history of the tribe itself, we find that the 
authors of the Vedic Index consider that the Kurus represent a 
comparatively late wave of Aryan immigration into India. 'The 
geographical position of the Kuru-Pancalas', they say, 'renders it 
probable that they were later immigrants into India than the Kosala- 
Videhas or the Kasis who must have been pushed into their more 
eastward territories by a new wave of Aryan settlers from the 
west'. 1 

In the Papancasudani, there is a fanciful story of the origin of the 
Kurus. Mahamandhata, king of Jambudipa, was a cakravartin, and 
therefore subject to no restrictions of place. He conquered 
Pubbavideha, Aparagoyana and Uttara-Kuru, besides the Devalokas. 
When he was returning from Uttara-Kuru, a large number of the 
inhabitants of that country followed Mahamandhata to Jambudipa, 
and the place where they settled became known as Kururattham. 2 
ii The ancient capital of the Kurus was Hastinapura which was 
Mtuated on the Ganges in what is now the Meerut district of the 
[United Provinces. Indraprastha, the modern Indrapat near Delhi, 
£vas the second capital. According to the Epic story, the blind king 
TJhrtarastra continued to rule at the old capital Hastinapura on the 
Ganges, while he assigned to his nephews, the five Pandus, a district 
on the Jumna where they founded Indraprastha. 3 While the ancient 
capital of the Kurus sank into insignificance, the new city erected 
by the Pandavas has not only come down to our time, but has 
acquired a fresh lease of life as the seat of the central government of 
the British Indian Empire. Another city of the Kuru country, 
according to the Prakrit legend given in the commentary on the 
Vttaradhyayana Sutra, was Ishukara (Prakrit Usuyara or Isuyara), 
'a wealthy and famous town, beautiful like heaven'. 4 We have 
already referred to the town of Kammasadhamma, which must have 
been .well known in the Buddha's time. It is also called Kamma- 
sadamma,— derived by popular etymology from Kammasa (a prince) 
and damma (from dam, to tame), because Kammasa was brought 
under control by the Bodhisattva when he was born as a son of 
King Jayaddisa of Pancala {Papancasudam, pp. 226-;}. The story 
of Kammasa is narrated in full in the Jayaddisa Jataka, in which we 
find that the Bodhisattva was born as the son of King Jayaddisa of 
Pancala. One of the King's other sons was carried away by a 
Yakkhini (ogress) who brought him up, and taught him canni- 
balistic habits. After many attempts to capture him had failed, 
he was at last brought under control by the Bodhisattva. He was 

1 Vedic Index, I, pp. 168-9. 2 Papaticasuduni, pp. 225-6. 

a RapsoE, Ancient India, p. 173. * Jama Sutras, II, p. 6211. 



called Kammasa ('spotted, blemished') because of a boil which 
appeared on his leg. 1 It is apparent that this story is simply a 
variation of the Puranic story of Kalmasapada. 

The Epic and Puranic tradition regarding the origin of the 
Kurus is as follows : Puru, 2 the son of Yayati by Vrsaparva's 
daughter Sarmistha, and grandson of Nahusa, was fifth in descent 
from Pururava, son of Ila, daughter of Manu, the father of mankind 
(Manava-vamsa) ; and the dynasty which sprang from this Puru was 
celebrated as the Paurava dynasty. Tenth in descent from Puru 
was Samvarana. When his kingdom was conquered by the king of 
the Pancalas, Samvarana fled in fear, together with his wives, children 
and ministers, and took shelter in a forest on the banks of the Sindhu 
(Indus). He eventually regained his kingdom, with the help of his 
priest, the sage Vasistha ; and a son named Kura was born to him, 
by Tapati, daughter'of Surya. The people were charmed by the 
manifold good qualities of Kuru, and anointed him king. After 
the name of this king, the plain became famous as Kuruksetra or the 
field of Kura.* 

In the Epic period, the Kurus became the most powerful 
Ksatriya tribe in northern India, after the downfall of the Magadha 
empire of Rajagrha when Bhimasena, who belonged to the younger 
branch of the Kauravas, killed the Samrat (Emperor) Jarasandha. 
Bhimasena's grandson, Pratlpa, had three sons, Devapi, Vahlika 
and Santanu. The eldest son, Devapi, was a leper, and for this 
reason King Pratipa was prevented by his subjects and by the 
advice of wise men from placing him on the throne. Devapi became 
an ascetic, while Vahlika went to rule over his maternal uncle's 
land, and, after Pratipa's death, granted permission to his brother 
Santanu to reign over the Kuru country.* 

After Santanu came his sons Citrangada and Vicitravirya, both 
of whom died childless. However, in a semi -miraculous maimer, 
two sons (Dhrtarastra and Pandu) were born posthumously to 
Vicitravirya 's wives. Dhrtarastra married Gandhari, daughter of 
Suvala, king of the Gandharas, and had by her one hundred sons, 
known as the Kurus or Kauravas, of whom the eldest was 
Durvodhana who could work miracles by the power of mantras. 5 

1 Jataka (Eausboll), V, pp. 2r et seq. 

z Mahahhiirutti , Dioiuipumin, Chap. 61, p. 1035. 

a Adifarvan, Vangavasi Ed., Chap. 75, pp. 86-8; Chap. 85, p. 96; Chap. 94, 
p. ro4- 

4 Udyogaparvan, Chap. 149, p. 771. 

6 Ibid., Chap. 61, p. 707 (Vangavasi Ed.); and &antiparvan. Chap. 4, p. 1378, 
for further details about Duryodhana. For detailed (largely legendary) genealogies 
of the descendants of Kuru, see Vt^nupurdna, IV, Chap. 20 ; and Bhdgavaia 
Purdna, Skandha 9, Chap. 22. 


As Dhrtarastra was blind from birth, Pandu, though younger, was 
placed 'on the throne left vacant by the death of Vicitravlrya. 
Matters grew complex when sons were born to both the brothers, and 
the difficulty was not lessened when Dhrtarastra took over the 
government on the premature death of Pandu, had his five nephews 
brought up with his own sons, and finally appointed his eldest nephew, 
Yudhisthira, to be heir-apparent. Dhrtarastra's own sons, consumed 
with jealousy, set various plots on foot against their cousins, and 
eventually the old king decided on a compromise, giving Hastinapura 
to his sons, and to his nephews a district where they built the city of 
Indraprastha. Here the Pandavas, in the words of Prof. Macdonell, 
'ruled wisely and prospered greatly. Duryodhana's jealousy being 
aroused, he resolved to ruin his cousins, with the aid of his uncle 
iaknni, a skilful gamester'. 1 Yudhisthira was thereupon challenged 
to a game of dice with Sakuni, — a challenge which he could not 
refuse, as this was a matter of honour among Indian Ksatriyas in 
those days. Owing to dishonest tricks on Sakuni's part, Yudhisthira 
was defeated, and lost everything, his kingdom, wealth, army, 
brothers, and finally DraupadI, the joint wife of the five Pandavas. 
In the end it was arranged that the Pandavas should go into banish- 
ment for twelve years, and to remain incognito for a thirteenth, 
after which they "might return and regain their kingdom. They 
passed their period of banishment in the forest, and remained 
incognito for the thirteenth year at the court of King Virata of the 

The Matsya king and his people honoured Yudhisthira and his 
brothers, and were grateful to them for preventing the predatory 
excursions of the Trigarttas and Kurus against their cattle. The 
bond with the Matsyas was further cemented by the marriage of 
Virata's daughter with Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. The 
Pandavas were further related through DraupadI with the powerful 
king of Pancala ; and they had a firm friend in Krsna, the hero of 
the Yadavas. It was felt, accordingly, that a successful attempt 
might be made to recover the dominions out of which they had been 
cheated. The King of Pancala suggested that they should resort to 
war, and kings of other neighbouring countries were invited to help 
the Pandavas. But before the war began the brothers made a last 
unsuccessful attempt to negotiate peace, sending Krsna Vasudeva 
as their emissary to the Kuru court. 2 

After the failure of negotiations, allies were invited from far and 
near ; even the kings of the south contributed their quota, for by that 

1 Sanskrit Literature, p. 292. 

2 Mbh., Udyogaparvan, Vangavasi Ed., Chap. 127. 


time the Ksatriyas had spread over the whole of India, and, according 
to the Epic account, all of them were ranged on one side or the other. 
Dhrstadynmna was made generalissimo of the Pandava forces, 
Ari'uiia being the greatest hero on their side, with Krsna Vasudeva 
as his chief, so to speak. Being prevented by a vow trom taking 
up arms in the battle, Krsna took upon himself the duty of driving 
his friend's chariot. . . 

The Indian army in those days, as m later times, consisted of four 
divisions viz. foot-soldiers, elephants, chariots, and horses. Arriving 
at Kuruksetra, the Pandavas encamped with their troops on the 
western part of the field, facing the numerically much stronger 
force of Duryodhana and his allies (MA, Udyogaparvtin, Chap. 198 ; 
Chap 151 Chap. 154). Of the 18 aksauhinls or regiments that 
assembled' on the battle-field, 11 were on Duryodhana 's side, and 7 
on that of his cousins. In individual heroes also Duryodhana's army 
was apparently much stronger. But the Kurus, in spite of their 
preponderant strength, felt misgivings on the eve of the battle, 
while the Pandavas were buoyed up with the righteousness of their 
cause The commander of Duryodhana's army was the old warrior 
Bhlsma, and the allies of the Kurus included the peoples of Kosala, 
Videha,' Anga, Vahga, Gandhara, Sindhn, and many other States, 
Duryodhana caused his camps to be made to look like a second 
Hastinapura, and into these camps he made soldiers with their 
horses enter in groups of a hundred each, arranging names and 
emblems for all of them so that they might be recognised in the 

When the two powers were thus ready to fight, the Kurus and 
the Pandavas were bound to follow the traditional rules of a fair 
fight among the Ksatriyas of India. Only men equally situated or 
matched could fairly fight one another. Combatants armed with the 
same kind of weapons should be ranged against one another. Those 
that left the battle-field should never be killed, a fleeing enemy was 
not to be pursued, and one devoid of arms should never be struck. 
A chariot-warrior should fight only with another chariot-warrior, 
and, similarly, with horse and foot-soldiers, and those riding on 
elephants. One engaged in a personal combat with another, one 
seeking refuge, one retreating, one whose weapon was broken, and 
one clad in armour should never be struck; neither should non- 
combatants on the field of battle, such as charioteers, attendants 
engaged in carrying weapons, players on drums and blowers of 
conches, be smitten. 1 

Mbh., Bhlsmaparvan, Chap, I. 


This was the tacit understanding between the two armies, and 
the rules were generally not violated except under very special 

The Kuru army with Bhisma at its head advanced first, then the 
Pandava army led by BhTrnasena. The soldiers of both sides rushed 
upon one another with loud yells and a simidtaneous blowing of 
conches. The fight raged furiously for ten days, at the end of which 
Bhisma fell, and both forces were withdrawn for a lull. 

On Bhlsma's death, Drona was made commander of the Kaurava 
troops, and' the fight raged' for a further eight days, until finally 
Abhimanyu, Drona, Karna, and Salya were all slain, and a great dis- 
order prevailed, especially in the Kuru army, now consisting only of a 
few scattered soldiers. Sahadeva, one of the Pandu princes, killed 
the gamester Sakuni, and Duryodhana himself was killed by 
Bhimasena after making a last desperate rush at the enemy. With 
Duryodliana's death, the victory in the Kuruksetra war fell to the 
Panda vas; but only a handful of their followers came out of the 
fray alive. 

With the death of the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra, the Kuru 
line through him became extinct, and the Pandavas now became 
lords of the Kuru kingdom, Yudhisthira being acclaimed king. The 
Pandus were reconciled to the aged Dhrtarastra who retired to the 
forest after remaining at Hastinapura for fifteen years, and he and 
his queens finally perished in a forest conflagration. Yudhisthira 
himself did not reign long. When he heard of Krsna's accidental 
death, and of the destruction of the Vrsnis, he determined to leave 
the world, and he and his brothers retired to the forest, leaving the 
young prince Pariksit, 1 grandson of Arjuna, to rule over Hastinapura. 

Pariksit was learned in the science of the duties of kings, and is 
credited with having possessed all noble qualities. He is described 
as a highlv intelligent ruler, and a great hero, who wielded a powerful 
bow, and never missed his aim. One day he was lost in the forest, 
having been led astray by a deer whom he had struck but failed to 
kill While roaming about, he met a sage and asked him whether 
he had seen a deer running that way. The sage was observing a 
vow of silence, and did not reply. Angered at this, the kmg took up a 
dead snake with the end of his bow, placed it around the sage's 
neck and went away. The son of the sage, hearing of this, cursed 
the king saying that within a week he would be reduced to ashes by 
the bite 'of Taksaka, king of the snakes. Hearing of the curse, the 

1 So called because he was begotten at the time of the decrease (pariksina) 
of the Kuru race. 


sage was sorry, and warned the king; but in spite of elaborate 
precautions, the curse was fulfilled, and Pariksit died of snake-bite. 

Pariksit's son, Janamejaya, now ascended the throne, and 
resolved to avenge his father's death by holding a snake sacrifice. 
Rsis by the force of their mantras caused the snakes in their thousands 
to fall' into the sacrificial fire. However, Taksaka's nephew, Astika, 
son of a snake princess and the rsi Jaratkaru, won the king's favour, 
caused him to suspend the sacrifice, and saved the snakes from total 

Here the kernel of the Epic account ends. It will be readily 
seen that it is a mixture of history and legend ; but the historicity of 
the battle itself, and of the Kuru kings who ruled shortly afterwards, 
need not be doubted. 

Turning once more to the Buddhist literature, we find numerous 
stories of kings of the Kuru land. For instance the Bodhisattva is 
described in the Dhammapada commentary as having once been 
born to the chief queen of the Kuru king (Dhanahjaya, according to 
the Kurudhamma Jataka, Fausboll, Vol. II, pp. 366 foil.), in the 
capital city, Indapatta (Indraprastha). He went to Taxila to 
complete his education, and was then appointed a viceroy by his 
father. When he came to the throne, he, together with his family 
and his chief officials, used to obey the 'Kuru-dhamma'. This 
Kuru-dharnma consisted in the observance of the five 'silas' or rules 
of moral conduct, and it possessed the mystic virtue of bringing 
prosperity to the country. At this time the king of Kalihga was 
troubled by a dearth of rain in his kingdom. The Bodhisattva, 
king of the Kurus, had a royal elephant named Ahjanavasabha, 
which was brought to the kingdom of Kalinga in the belief that its 
mere presence would bring rain. This device not having the expected 
result, it was concluded that rain did not fall in Kalihga because the 
Kuru-dhamma was not observed there; and Brahmins were sent to 
the kingdom of Kuru to make themselves acquainted with the Kuru- 
dhamma, and write it out for the king of Kalihga. Thereupon, King 
Kalinga observed the Kurudhamma faithfully, and forthwith the 
longed-for rain poured down in showers in his kingdom, and his 
crops were saved. 1 The Kurudhamma Jataka, cited above, also 
narrates this story, and there are further references to King 
'Dhanahjaya Koravya' in other Jatakas (Cowell, Vol. IV, pp. 227- 
231; Vol. V, pp. 31-7; and ibid., p. 246). In the latter passage we 
are told that the kingdom of Kuru extended over three hundred 
leagues. The king's chief minister is called Suclrata in one story, 2 

1 Dhammapada Commtntarv, IV, pp. 88-9. 
\ V, p- 57- 


and Vidhura in another. 1 In each case the king is said to have been 
very righteous and charitable. In yet another Jataka version of the 
story, we are told, as usual, that there reigned in the city of 
Indapattana, in the kingdom of the Kurus, a king named 
Dhanafijaya, of the race of Yudhitthila (Yudhisthira). _ The 
P.odhisattva was born in the house of his family priest (not in the 
king's own family in this case). After learning all the arts at Taxila, 
he returned to Indapattana and after his father's death he became 
family priest and adviser to the king. He was called Vidhura pandita. 2 

The story of King Dhananjaya-korabba and his wise minister 
appears to have been very popular in Jataka times, for its events 
find repeated mention in the tales. The Jataka contains an account 
of further incidents concerning Dhanafijaya and Vidhura, notably 
the defeat of Dhanafijaya at dice, and the meditation of Vidbura- 
pandita in a friendly rivalry between the king and Sakka (Indra). 3 

' "Though the Buddha principally confined his ministering activity 
to N.E. India, the Buddhist Pah texts show that he travelled widely 
over regions in Northern India; and the Kuru country too appears 
to have been favoured by his discourses (see, e.g. Anguttara Nikaya, 
Vol. V, pp. 29-32; Samyutta Nikaya, Vol. II, pp. 92-3; Ibid., 
pp. 107-9; Majjhima Nikaya, Vol. I, pp. 55 st seq.; Ibid., pp. 501 et 
seq. ; Vol. II, pp. 261 et seq. ; pp. 54 el seq. ; Dhammapada Commentary, 
Vol.' I, pp. 199-203 and cf. Ibid.,\ T ol. Ill, pp. 193 et seq. ; DighaNikaya, 
Vol. II, pp. 55 el seq.) Ibid., pp. 290 et seq.). It is in nearly every 
case that the town of Kammasadharnma is mentioned as the scene 
of the Buddha's discourses. 

Some time before the fourth century B.C., the monarchical 
constitution of the Kurus gave place to a republic, for we are told by 
Kautilva * that the Kurus were ' raja-sabda-upajivinak ', or ' enjoying 
the status of rajas', — i.e. all citizens had equal rank and rights. 

The Kurus appear to have played some part in Indian politics 
as late as the ninth century A.D., for when Dharmapala installed 
Cakravudha on the throne of Kanauj, he did so with the consent of 
the neighbouring powers, amongst whom the Kurus are specifically 
mentioned. 6 

1 Jataka (Fausboll), IV, p. 361. 2 ibid -> VI, PP- 2 55 *<>"• 

a Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 255 foil. . . 

* See Shama Shastri's translation of the Arthaiasmt, p. 455. bin una Shastri 
renders ' raja-iabda-upajivinah' fay 'lived fay the title of a raja', but this is too vague 
to convey the meaning. For a fuller discussion on the subject, see Chapter on the 

6 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 4r3- 


The Pancalas, like the Kuras, are most intimately connected 
with the Vedic civilization of the Brahmana period. The Satapatha 
Brahmana 1 tells us that they were called Krivis in ancient times. 
In an enumeration of the ancient monarehs who had performed the 
Asvamedha sacrifice, a king Kraivya Pancala is mentioned, and it is 
definitelv stated that Krivi was the ancient name of trie Pancala 
tribe Krivi appears as a tribal name in the Rgveda. 2 Zimmer is 
of the opinion that the Krivis resided in the region near the Sindhu 
and the Asikni in the Punjab, and the authors of the Vedic Index 
express the same view. 3 But the only piece of evidence m favour 
of this hypothesis is that Krivi is mentioned in a verse of a Rgvedic 
hymn, in which the names of those rivers occur in a subsequent verse 
(VIII,' 20, 25). The Rgveda does not clearly testify to any connec- 
tion between the rivers and the people. 

Zimmer* hazards another (more far-fetched) conjecture, viz. 
that the Pancalas with the Kurus made up the Vaikarna people; 
and the Vedic Index s lends its support to this theory. But the 
only evidence in support of this view is that the word Vaikarna 
appears in the dual in a verse of the Rgveda," and the Kuru-Panealas 
appear combined as a dual people in the Brahmana literature. We 
are hardly justified in assuming any connection between these two 
facts, and moreover, it is doubtful whether 'Vaikarnayoh' in the 
Rgveda passage referred to, is a tribal name at all. Wilson following 
Sayana translates 'Vaikarnayoh* by 'on the two banks (of the 
Parusni) '. 7 This meaning agrees very well with the context, as the 
subject-matter of the hymn is the crossing of the Parusni by King 

In the later Vedic Samhitas and the Brahmana literature, the 
Pancalas are frequently referred to, and often combined with the 
Kuras. The Kathaka Samhita (XXX, 2) speaks of the Pancalas as 
being the Vamsa or people of Kesin Dalbhya, and says that, as a 
result of certain rites performed by him, they were divided into 

1 XIII, 5. 4. 7- 

2 YabhirdasasyatM Krivim, Rgveda, VIII, 20, 24; Ydbhth vavrdhuh, 
Rgveda, VIII, 22, 12. 

3 Vedic Index, I, 198. _ 4 Altindxsches Leben, 103. 

■> Vedic Index, I, 198. " Vaikarnayoh, Rgveda, VII, 18, it. 

7 Wilson, Rgveda, Vol. IV, p. 59- 


three parts. The same Samhita (X, 6) refers to the celebration of the 
Naimislya sacrifice in the country of the Kuru-Pancalas. Here a 
discussion between Vaka-Dalbhya and Dhrtarastra Vaicitravtrya is 
narrated, but there is nothing to justify Weber's conjecture of a 
quarrel between the Pancalas and the Kurus. In the Aitareya 
Brahmana, the Pancalas are mentioned along with the Kurus as 
one of the peoples in the Madhyama dik or midland. Similarly, the 
Kuru-Pancalas are mentioned in the Kanva recension of the 
Vdjasaneyi Samhita (XI, 3, 3,). In the Jaiminlya Upanisad 
Brahmana, the Kuru-Pancalas are mentioned many times, and in the 
Gopatha Brahmana (I, 2, 9), they are referred to as a dual group 
beside other similar groups, such as the Anga-Magadhas, Kasi- 
Kosalas. Salva-Matsyas, etc. The Satafiatha Brahmana assures us 
that 'speech sounds' higher here among the Kum-Paficalas', 1 and 
also informs us that the kings of the Kuru-Pancalas performed the 
rajasuya or royal sacrifice. The Taittiriya Brahmana (I, 8, 4, 1, 2) 
says that the kings of the Kuru-Pancalas marched forth on raids in 
the dewy season and returned in the hot season. 2 The Kausitaki 
Upanisad (IV, 1) also speaks of the Kuru-Paficalas, and in the 
Brhadaranyaka Upanisad they are repeatedly mentioned,— as, for 
instance, when we read 3 that the Brahmanas of the Kurus and the 
Pancalas flocked to the court of Janaka, king of Videha. A Vedic 
teacher, Pancala-Canda by name, is mentioned in the Aitareya and 
the Sankhayana Iranyakas,* and most probably this sage belonged 
to the Pancala country, as his name suggests. 

The Brhadaranyaka (VI, 1, 1) and Chandogya Upanisad (V, 3. *) 
tell how Svetaketu Aruneya went to the assembly (parisad) of the 
Pancalas where the Ksatriya, Pravahana Jaivali, put to him several 
questions which neither Svetaketu nor his father was able to answer. 
Svetaketu 's father, though a Brahmana, was glad to learn the answers 
to these questions from Pravahana Jaivali, although the latter was a 
Rajanva or Ksatriya. 5 

Several of the Pancala kings are mentioned m the Vedic 
literature. For instance, Durmukha was a great and powerful king 
of the Pancalas, who, according to the Aitareya Brahmana (VIII, 23) 
made extensive conquests in every direction. Another powerful 
Pancala king who performed the horse sacrifice was Sona Satrasaha, 
about whom several gathas are quoted in the Satapatha Brahmana* 

The name Pancala has given rise to much speculation, it being 
supposed that the first part, Panca ('five '), has somet hing to do with 

' 5 B.E., Vol. XXVI, p. 50. 3 Vedic Index, I, 165. 

a Bfh. Up., Ill, 1, 1. * Vedic I^ex, I, p. 469. 

s See also Chandogya Up., I, 8, 1-2, for another mention of Pravahana Jaivali. 

u S.B.E., Vol. XI/IV, p. 400. 



five tribes that were merged together into a united nation. The 
evidence in favour of this hypothesis is not very clear It has been 
suggested that the five peoples are the five tribes -of the Rgveda, 
but as the Vedic Index (I, 469) points out, the suggestion is not very 
probable The problem of the origin of the name Paucala and its 
probable connection with Paiica, five, struck the authors of the 
Puranas Many of them traced the name to five princes, whose 
names vary slightly in different works. In the Bhagavatapurdna, 
nth Skandha, Chap". 21, we learn that King Bharmasva, born 111 the 
family of IXtsmanta, had five sons, Mudgala, Yavmara, Vrhadvtsa, 
Kampilva, and Sanjava. As these five sons were capable of guarding 
the five" countries, they were named Pancala (alam = sufficient tor, 
capable of) Then in the Visnupurdna, Chap. 19, Anka 4, we are 
told that Haryasva, born in the family of Kuru, had five sons, 
Mudgala, Srinjaya, Vrhadisu, Pravira and Kampilya. He was 
under the impression that his five sons were competent to protect 
five provinces, and they became famous as Pancalas. The 
Vayupuruna (Chap. 99) tells us that Rksa, born in the family of 
Dvimldha' had five sons, Mudgala, Srinjaya, Vrhadisu, Yaviyana 
and Kampilya. The provinces of these five afterwards became 
famous as Pancala. Similarly, in the Agnipurana (Chap. 278) we 
read that Vahyasva, born in the family of Kuru, 1 had five sons, 
Mukula, Srinjaya, Vrhadisu, Yavlnara and Krhnila, who were known 
as Pancalas. In the Samhitopanisad Brahmana, there is a reference 
to the Pracya Pancalas. 2 

In the Epic, the Pancala country is divided into a northern and 
a southern part, so that evidently the Pancalas had spread and 
added to their country bv conquest since the Vedic period. There 
is a Jataka story about the foundation of Uttara-Pancala, which 
seems to show that a Cedi prince went to the north and formed the 
Uttara-Pahcala kingdom with colonists from the Pancala and Cedi 
countries. The Cetiva Jataka tells us that the king of Ceti (Cedi) 
had five sons. Kapila, the family priest, said to the fourth prince : 
'You leave by the north gate and go straight on till you see a wheel- 
frame all made of jewels : that will be a sign that you are to lay out a 
city there and dwell in it, and it shall be called Uttara- Paucala '. 3 

The Mahdbhdrata gives a different story of the division of the 
Pancala country. There, in the Adiparvan, we read that the 
Brahmin Drona and Prince Drupada had been friends in their boy- 
hood. But their friendship changed to enmity in their manhood 
when Drupada, on being raised to the throne, treated the poor 

1 Pargiter, The North Panchala Dynasty, J.R.A.S., r9i8, pp. 229 foil. 

2 Vedic Index, I, p. 469. 3 Jataka (Fausboll), III, pp. 46 " 1 - 


Brahmin's son with contempt. Drona, bent upon taking revenge, 
taught the science of war to the youths of the rival clan of the Kurus 
and, when their education was completed, he one day called all his 
pupils together and bade them seize Drupada, King of Pancala, in 
battle, and bring him captive. That, said Drona, would be the most 
acceptable teacher's fee (daksina) for him. A great battle ensued, in 
which the Pancalas were defeated and their capital attacked. 
Drupada was seized and offered to Drona by his disciples. Drona 
asked Drupada whether he would desire to revive old friendship, and 
told him that he would grant him half his kingdom as a boon. 
Drupada accepted the offer. Drona then took the northern half of 
the kingdom which came to be known as Uttara-Paficala : while 
Drupada ruled over the other half, known as Southern Pancala. 
That is to say, the country extending from the river Bhagirathi to 
the river Carmanvati in the south, with its capital at Kampilya, fell 
to Drupada's share, and the northern half with its capital at 
Ahicchatra was taken over by Drona. 1 

The plain of the Kurus, the (country of the) Matsyas, Pancalas 
and Surasenakas— these, according to Manu, formed the land of the 
Brahmarsis, ranking immediately after Brahmavarta. 2 

One of the earliest cities of Pancala was Parivakra or Paricakra, 
where King Kraivya Pancala performed his horse sacrifice. 3 Another 
city, Kampiki, appears to have been mentioned in the Yajurveda 
Samhita, where 'the epithet Kampila-vasini is applied to a woman, 
perhaps the mahisi or chief wife of the king, whose duty it was to 
sleep beside the slaughtered animal of the horse sacrifice ( Asvamedha) . 
The exact interpretation of the passage is very uncertain, but both 
Weber and Zimmer agree in regarding Kampila as the name of 
the town known as Kampilva in the later literature, and the capital 
of Pancala in Madhyadesa ' . 4 The Visnupurana (Chap. II) and the 
Bhagavatapurana (Chap. 22) say that Kampilya, son of King 
Haryasva, was celebrated as Pancala. Among the hundred sons of 
Nipa of the Ajamlda dynastv, Samara is mentioned as the king of 
Kampilya. 5 We have seen that Kampilya became the capital of 
King Drupada when he was invested with the sovereignty of the 

1 Mbh Adiparvan Chap. 140. Rapson (Ancient India, p. 167) says: 'Inhistory, 
tiiey(ie tb f e duided into two kingdoms—South Pancnala, 
the country between the Jumna and Gauges to the east and south-oast of the Kurus 
and Surasenas, and North Panchala, districts of the United Provinces lying east of 
the Ganges and north-west of the Province of Oudh . . . ' Cunningham (Ancient 
Geography, p. 360) says : 'The great kingdom of Paiicala extended from the Himalaya 

attains to the Chambal river'. 

2 Manusamhita, II, 19. ' B Jlf 6 fl « te -_ „ 

* Vedic Index, Vol. 1, 149- & Vwitfiurana, TV, 19. 



southern Pancala country. In the Adikdnda of the Rdmayana 
(Sarga 33) we are told that King Brahmadatta used to live in the 
city of Kampilya. Cunningham identifies Kampilya with Kampil, 
on'the old Ganges between Budaon and Farokhabad. 1 According 
to N. L. Dey, 2 it was situated at a distance of 28 miles north-east of 
Fatgarh in the Farokhabad district. It was the scene of the 
svayamvara of Drupada's daughter, Krsna or Draupadi, who became 
the wife of the five sons of Pandu. Drupada's palace is pointed out 
as the most easterly of the isolated mounds on the bank of the 
Bur-Ganga. 3 

Ahicchatra, where Drona established his capital, as we have 
seen, was another notable town of the Pancalas. When the Kuru 
army was marshalled on the field, it is stated that their rear extended 
as far as the city of Ahicchatra 4 ; so that northern Pancala was 
contiguous with the Kuru land, and not very far from the Kuru- 
ksetra battle-field. According to Cunningham, the history of 
Ahicchatra goes back to 1430 B.C. The name is written Ahiksetra, 
as well as Ahi-cchatra, but the local legend of the Adi-Raja 
and the Naga suggests that Ahi-cchatra is the correct form, for 
Ahicchatra means 'Serpent Umbrella'. This grand old fort is said 
to have been built by Raja. Adi, an Ahir, whose future elevation to 
sovereignty was foretold by Drona, when he found him sleeping 
under the guardianship of a serpent with expanded hood. The 
fort is also called Adikot, but the more common name is Ahicchatra. 6 
The form of the name in Ptolemy by a slight alteration becomes 
Adisadra, which has been satisfactorily identified with Ahicchatra. 8 
According to V. A. Smith, Ahicchatra City is the modern Ramnagar 
in the Bareilly district. It was still a considerable town when visited 
by Hsiian Tsang in the seventh century. 7 The name of the city, it 
appears, was extended to the whole of the country of Uttara-Paficala, 
for we find the Chinese pilgrim giving a description of the 'country' 
of Ahicchatra. He observes that it was about 3,000 li in circuit and 
the capital about 17 or 18 li. It was naturally strong, being flanked 
by mountain crags. It produced wheat, and there were many woods 
and fountains. The climate was agreeable and the people sincere 
and truthful. They loved religion, and applied themselves to learn- 

1, .-I ncienl Ccography, p. 360 ; Uvasagadasiio, Vol. II, p. 106. 
* Geographical Dictionary , p. 33. 

3 K. L. Dey, op. cit., p. 33. See also Mahabharata, Adiparvan, Chap. 94. 
pp. 181-2. 

7 :■:.■ 

s Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 360. 

fl McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, P- 133- 

7 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., pp. 391-392. 


ing. There were about 10 sangharamas and some 1,000 priests who 
studied the Hmayana; and also some 9 deva temples with 300 
sectaries. They sacrificed to Isvara and belonged to the company 
of 'ashes-sprinklers' (Pasupatas). Outside the chief town was a 
Naga tank by the side of which was a stiipa built by King Asoka. 
It was here that the Tathagata (Buddha) preached the law for the 
sake of a Naga-raja for seven days. By the side of it were four 
little stupas. 1 

In modern times, Ahicchatra was first visited by Capt. Hodgson, 
who describes it as the ruins of an ancient fortress several miles in 
circumference, which appears to have had 34 bastions, and is known 
in the neighbourhood by the name of the Pandu's fort. a 

In the kingdom of Pancala there also existed the city of 
Kanyakubja. 8 R. D. Banerjee, on the authority of a copper plate 
discovered at Khalimpura, points out that the kings of the Bhojas, 
Matsyas, Kurus, Yadus and Yavanas were forced to acknowledge 
Cakrayudha as the king of Kanyakubja. 4 

Many are the stories told about the Pahcalas and their dealings 
with the Kurus. In the Adiparvan 6 we read that there was a king 
named Sambarana, father of Kuru, of the Puru dynasty, who was the 
ruler of the world. At one time his kingdom was much afflicted, his 
subjects died, and disorder prevailed everywhere. The kingdom was 
afterwards conquered by the King of Pancala, and Sambarana fled 
with his wife and children to a forest on the banks of the river 

In connection with the expedition resulting in the victory of 
Bhimasena, we note that Bhimasena went to the east, attacked the 
Pancala country and brought it under his sway. 6 At the outset of 
his expedition, Kama also attacked Pancala, defeated Drupada, and 
exacted tribute from him and his subordinate kings. 7 

During the Kuruksetra war, Drupada, king of the Pahcalas, 
helped the Pandavas with his son, Dhrstadyumna, and an aksauhini 
of troops s ; and Dhrstadyumna was made the commander-in-chief 
of the entire Panda va force. Various kinds of horses are described 
as having been' used by the famous heroes of Pancala during 
the war. 9 In the Udyogaparvan we read that Yudhamanyu and 

1 Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. I, pp. 200-201. 

'■ McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, p. 134. 

' Epigraphia Indies., Vol. IV, p. 246. 

1 Vansalar Itihdsa, Pt. I, pp. r67-8. 

i Chap. 94, p. ro4. 6 Sabhdparvan, Chap. 29, p. 241. 

' Mahabharata, Vaugavasi Edn., Vanaparvan, Chap. 253, p. 5*3- 

* Udyogaparvan, Chaps. 156-7, pp. 777"8. 

» See Dronaparvan, Chap. 22, pp. 1012-13. 


Tjttamanja, two other princes of Pancala, went to the battle-field. 1 
They were killed by Dhrtarastra's array. Mitravarma. and Ksatra- 
dharma, the Pancala heroes, were killed by Drona; and Ksatradeva, 
son of Sikhandi, was killed by Laksmana, son of Duryodhana. 2 

Paficala continued to be one of the great and powerful countries 
of Northern India, down to the time when the Buddha lived. The 
Anguttara Nikaya mentions it as one of the sixteen mahajanaftadas 
of ' Tambudipa', having an abundance of the seven kinds_ of gems, 
etc.^ Pancala had a large army consisting of foot-soldiers, men \ 
skiiful in fight and in the use of steel weapons. 4 

We read in the Kumbhakani J at aha 5 that in the kingdom of 
Uttara-Pancala, in the city of Kampilla, there was a king named 
Dummukha, who became a Pacceka-buddha. We have seen before 
that Durmukha was the name of one of the powerful Pancala 
sovereigns in the Vedic period. A Pancala monarch of the same name 
is also mentioned in the Jaina works. 

In the GandaMndu Jataka we read that during the reign of 
Pancala, king of Kampilla, the people were so much oppressed by 
taxation that they took their wives and families and wandered in the 
forest like wild beasts. By day they were plundered by the king's 
men and by night by robbers. 6 

The Samyutta Nikaya narrates that once while the Buddha was 
staying at Vaisali, Visakha of the Pancalas was in the meeting hall 
where he distinguished himself by his pious discourse. 7 Visakha 
was the son of the daughter of the king of the Pancalas, and after- 
wards became known as the Pahcali's son. After the death of his 
father, he succeeded to his title, but when the Buddha came to his 
neighbourhood, he went to hear him, believed, and left the world. 8 

Pancala and its princes also figure in the Jaina literature. It is 
stated in the Uttarddhyayana Sutra that the king of the Pancalas 
did no fearful actions. 9 The Jain writers also refer to Brahmadatta, 
king of the Pancalas, 10 and to Dvimukha of Pancala, who was a 
Pratyekabuddha. !1 

1 Ui.yogapa.rvan, Chap. 198, pp. 807-8. See aho Bhismaparvan, Chap. 19, p. 8j 

■- Kartv.ibarvJP., Chap. 6, p. 1169. 

» Vol. I (P.T.S.), 213; IV, 252, 256, 260. 

* Jataka (Fausbdil), VI, p. 396. 
B Ibid., Ill, p. 379. 

• Ibid., Vol. V, p. 99. 

7 The Book of the Kindred Sayings, II, p. 190. 

s Psalms of the Brethren, pp. T52-3; vide also Thera-tlierigalha, P.T.S., p. 27. 

» S.B.E., Vol. XLV, Jaina SMras, Pt. II, p. 60. 
10 Ibid., p. 61. 
» Ibid., p. 87. 


In the post-Asokan period Pancala was invaded by the Greeks, 
as we infer from the Gargi Samhita, which is dated about the second 
or third century A.D. 1 

In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., the Pancalas were a monar- 
chical clan, but became a sahgha (probably an oligarchy) in the fourth 
century, when Kautilya lived. In Kautilya's Arthas'astra we read 
that the corporation of Pancala 'lived by the title of raja'. 2 The 
change was very probably brought about in the following way. 
Members of the royal family were often given a share in the adminis- 
tration of a country, and in proportion as this share became less 
and less formal, the state organization would lose the form of 
absolute monarchy and approach that of an oligarchy. 3 

Sir Charles Eliot notes that the kingdom of Pancala passed 
through troublous times after the death of Harsavardhana, but 
from about 840-910 A.D. under Bhoja and his son, it became the 
principal power in Northern India, extending from Bihar to Sind. 
In the twelfth century, it again became important under the Gaharwar 
dynasty. 4 

In the district of Bareilly in the United Provinces, many _ old 
copper coins have been discovered amongst the ruins of ancient 
Ahicchatra. The word 'mitra' s occurs at the end of the names of 
the kings engraved on the coins. In many places of the United 
Provinces, coins of this kind are discovered every year. There are 
three symbols above the names of the kings. Carlyle of the 
Archaeological Dept. explains the symbols as Bodhi tree, Sivalirigam 
surrounded by snakes, and stupa covered by fungus. Such coins 
are found in large numbers at Ahicchatra, so Cunningham calls them 
Pancala-mudra. They generally weigh 250 grs., the smaller ones 
weighing not less than 16 grs. e According to the Cambridge History, 1 
several Pancala coins have on the obverse Agni, with head of flames, 
standing between posts on railing, on the reverse, in incuse, Agi- 
mitasa ; above, three symbols. Whether Agnimitra whose coins are 
found in North Pancala and who was, therefore, presumably king 
of Ahicchatra, can be identified with the Sunga king of that name, 
is uncertain. 8 

1 See Max Miiller, India, What cm it teach us? 1883, p. 298. 

2 'Raja&abdopajivinah'^Arlhasastra, Shama Sastri's Translation, p. 455. 
a Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p. 165. 

* Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. I, p. 27. ,„.,,;,. 
s For a detailed discussion, see B. C. Law, Panchalas and their Capiat 

Ahichchhatra, M.A.S.I., No. 67, pp. ra foil. 

e R. D. Banerjee, Pracina Mudrd, pp. 106-7. 

* Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 53 s - 
8 Ibid., p. 520. 


The method of striking the early coins was peculiar, in that the 
die was impressed on the metal when hot, so that a deep square 
incuse which coins the device, appears on the coin. A similar 
incuse appears on the later double-die coins of Pancala, Kausambi, 
and on sonic coins of Mathura. This method of striking may have 
been introduced from Persia, and was perhaps a derivative from the 
art of seal-engraving.> Brown says that there is httle foreign 
influence traceable in the die-struck coins, all closely connected m 
point of stvle, which issued during the first and second centuries B.C 
from Paiicala, Ayodhya, Kausambi and Mathura. A number ot 
these bear Brkhmi inscriptions and the names of ten kings, which 
some would identify with the old Saiga dynasty, have been recovered 
from the copper and brass coins of Pancala, found in abundance at 
Ramnagar in Rohilkhand, the site of the ancient city, Ahicchatra.* 

L Brown, Coins of India, p. 19. 
'- Ibid., p. 20. 


The Surasenas are not mentioned in the Vedic literature, but 
in the Mdnavadharma-iastra they are spoken of in high terms as 
belonging to the Brahmarsi-desa, or the country of the great 
Brahmanical seers, whose conduct was an example to all Aryans. 1 
Accordingly at the time of Manu's Code (between the second century 
B.C. and the second century A.D.), the Surasenas were among the 
tribes who occupied a rank in Indo-Aryan society second only to 
that of the small population of the narrow strip of Brahmavarta. 
Therefore they must have belonged to the Vedic people, though 
probably they had not acquired sufficient political importance in very- 
early times to find a mention in the Rgveda or the subsequent Vedic 
literature. They claimed descent from Yadu, a hero whose people 
are repeatedly referred to in the Rgveda 2 ; and it is probable that the 
Surasenas were included among the Rgvedic Yadus. 

Manu also pays a high tribute to the martial qualities of the 
Surasenas, inasmuch as he advises a king when arranging his troops 
on the battle-field, to place the Surasenas in the very front line. 3 

In an enumeration in the Mahabharata i of the various peoples 
of Bharatavarsa, the Siirasenas are mentioned along with the Salvas, 
Kuru-Paficalas and other neighbouring tribes; and we read m the 
Virata-parvan (Chaps. I and V) that the Pandavas passed through 
the Surasena country on their way to Viratanagara, from the 
Dvaitavana forest, where they had sojourned during their exile. It 
is easy to locate the Surasenas, inasmuch as their capital, Mathura, 
has been a great city from the early times of Indo-Aryan history down 
to the present day. They must have occupied ' the Muttra district 
and possibly some of the territory still farther south', 5 according to 
the Cambridge History of India. Prof. Rhys Davids _ says fl : 'The 
Surasenas, whose capital was Madhura, were immediately south- 
west of the Macchas, and west of the Jumna'. 

In the Ramayana, 1 we read that Sugriva, when sending out his 
monkev generals in search of Sita, told those who were going towards 

» Manusamhita, II, 19; and see Matsya chapter. 

2 Vedic Index, II, 185. 3 Manusamhxta, VII, 193. 

* MM., Bhismaparvan, Chap. 9, p. 822. „-._,, ,■ 

5 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 316. 6 Buddhist India, p. 27. 

* Kiskindhya Kania, 11-12, 43rdsarga. 


the north to search the country of the Surasenas. In the 
Bhaeavadgita section of the Mahabharata, the Surasenas are men- 
tioned as forming part of the army of Duryodhana in the Kuruksetra 
war They guarded Bhisma, and took a prominent part in the battle, 
to' the point of having 'their army destroyed. 1 Elsewhere in the 
y-:hJbharata* we read that Sahadeva, while proceeding southwards 
in the course of his conquests before the Rajasuya sacrifice, con- 
quered the country of Surasenas. 

In the Pali Buddhist Tripitaka, Surasena is mentioned as one 
of the sixteen ' mahajanapadas' which were prosperous and had an 
abundance of wealth." One of the Jataka stories narrates how the 
lurasenas, along with the Paffcalas, Matsyas and Madras, witnessed 
a game of dice between Dhananjaya Korabba and Punnaka Yakkha.* 
" The capital of the Surasenas, as we have seen, was Mathura 
on the Jumna, at present included in the Agra division of the United 
Provinces. It lay on the upper Jumna, about 270 miles in a straight 
line north-west of Kausambi. In the Pali Buddhist literature, the 
name is Madhura; Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India (p. 36) says 
that it is tempting to identify it with the site of the modern Mathura, 
in spite of the difference in spelling. In the Lalitavistara, 5 the city 
of Mathura is mentioned as having been suggested as a possible 
locality for the birth of the Bodhisattva, when various places were 
being discussed by the gods in the Tusita heaven. From this it is 
evident that at the time that the Lalitavistara was composed, that 
is in the early centuries of the Christian era, Mathura was one of 
the most prominent cities of India. 

The Greek historians make mention of Mathura. It was noticed 
by Arrian, on the authority of Megasthenes, as the capital of the 
Surasenas ; and Ptolemy also mentions it. 6 The town was surrounded 
by numbers of high mounds, one of which has since yielded numbers 
of statues and inscribed pillars, which prove that it represented the 
remains of at least two large Buddhist monasteries dating from the 
beginning of the Christian era. 7 

In the fifth century A.D., Mathura was visited by the Chinese 
pilgrim Fa-Hien, who passed through a succession of monasteries 

1 Bhismaparvan, Chap. 106, p. 974; Ibid., Chaps. 107-121, pp. 906-993; 

Drona par-can, Chap. 6, pp. 99S-9; Ibid., Chap. 19, p. imq; Karnaparvan, Chap. 5, 
pp. 1167-8. 

a Sabhaparvan, Chap. 31, pp. 242-3. 

3 Angultara Nikava, I, p. 213; Ibid., IV, pp. 252. 256 and 260. 

* Fausboll, Jataka, Vol. VI, p. 280. B HA. I-efmann, pp. 21-2. 

* Cunningham., Ancient Geography, flUajurvKler's V,i].). p. 429. The Greek 
writers also make mention of another city of the Surasena country, uanu-d Cleisotiora 
(= Krsnapur = Brndaban). 

i Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 374. 


filled with a number of monks. 1 It was also visited later by Hsiian 
Tsang who described the country as being above 5,000 H in circuit, 
the capital being above twenty li in circuit. The soil, according to 
him, was very fertile, and agriculture was the chief industry: mango 
trees were grown there in orchards. The country also produced a 
fine striped cotton cloth, and gold. Its climate was hot, the manners 
and customs of the inhabitants were good. There were Buddhist 
monasteries, and deva-temples, and the professed adherents of the 
different non-Buddhist sects lived pell-mell. 2 

Buddhism was predominant in Mathura for several centuries. 3 
The king of Mathura in the Buddha's time bore the title of Avanti- 
putto, and was therefore related to the royal family of Ujjayini in 
Avanti. In the Majjhima Nikaya (II, pp. 83ff.) we read that king 
Avantiputto went to Mahakaccana, one of the Buddha's most 
influential disciples, and discussed with him the pride of the 
Brahmanas, and their view that they were vastly superior to all other 
castes. Matfmra was the residence of Mahakaccana, ' to whom 
tradition attributes the first grammatical treatment of the Pali 
language, and after whom the oldest Pali grammar is accordingly 
named*.* In Kaccayana's PaH Grammar we read that the distance 
from Mathura to Sahkassa was 4 yojanas. 5 A famous sttrpa was 
built at Mathura in honour of Moggaliputta Tissa {Cambridge 
History of India, Vol. I, p. 506). 

Mathura was visited by the Buddha, 8 but we do not find many 
references to the city in his time; whereas it is mentioned in the 
MiiinJai>iinho as one of the most famous places in India; so that the 
time of its greatest growth must have been between these dates. 7 

Besides Buddhism, the Jaina cult was also practised at Mathura 
which was one of the few centres of the cult in the centuries imme- 
diatelv before and after the Christian era. 8 The Jains seem to have 
been firmly established in the city from the middle of the second 
century B^C. ; while many dedicatory inscriptions prove that they 
were a flourishing community at Mathura in the reigns of Kaniska, 
Huviska and Vasudeva. 9 

1 Legge, Travels of Fii-Hien, p. 42. 

s Walters. On Yiiirn Ch-Kung, Vol. I, p. 3°*- 

8 Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. II, p. 159. 
* Rhvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. 30. 

5 Book III, Chap. I, p. 157, S. C. Vidyablnl Sana's edition. 

e Anguihwa Xikavn. II, 57: Vinianavuttlnt Comtn., pp. 11S-9. 

7 Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 37. . 

a Smith, Early History 0/ India, 4tliEd.,p. 18; atidRapson, Ancient India,?. 174. 

9 Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. I, p. 113. 


Mathura was also known in the time of Megasthenes (300 B.C.) 
as the centre of Krsna worship 1 ; it was well known as the birth- 
place of the hero Krsna. 2 Cunningham points out 3 that Surasena 
was the grandfather ' of Krsna, and after him Krsna and his 
descendants, who held Mathura after the death of Kamsa, were 
called the 6urasenas. _ 

Another cult which arose in Mathura was the Bhagavata religion, 
the parent of modern Vaisnavism 4 ; but in the Saka-Kushan period, 
the citv had ceased to be a stronghold of Bhagavatism. 5 The paucity 
of Bhagavata inscriptions at Mathura probably indicates that 
Bhagavatism did not find much favour at the royal court, because 
from the first century B.C. to the third century A.D., the people 
were usually Buddhists. 6 s . 

Mathura, then, was a city in which many divergent religious 
sects flourished side by side. To the Hindus its sanctity was, and 
still is, very great. As the birthplace of Krsna, it was and is one 
of the seven holy places of Hinduism. 7 

In the semi-legendary accounts of the Puranas, we find some 
details regarding Mathura. In the Visnufiurdna for instance, we 
read that Lavana, son of the monster Madhu, was killed by Satrughna 
who founded the city of Mathura. 8 The demons attacked Mathura, 
the home of the Vrsnis and Andhakas; 9 and the Vrsnis and 
Andhakas, being afraid of the demons, left Mathura and established 
their capital at Dvaravatl. 10 Mathura was also besieged by 
Jarasandha, king of Magadha, with a huge army of_ 23 aksauhims. 11 
At the time of his 'great departure' {mahdprasthana) , Yudhisthira 
installed Vajranabha on the throne of the city. 12 

The earlier rulers of Mathura find a place in the Puranas, 13 but 
only in the general summary of those dynasties which were con- 
temporary with the Purus. On the eve of the rise of the Gupta 
power, says the V ayufiurana (Chap. 99), seven naga kings reigned 
in Mathura. They were followed by Magadha kings. 1 * 

1 Cambridge Histcrv of India, Vol. I, p. 167. 

2 See, e.g. Hopkins, The Great Epic of India, p. 395, n. 1. 

3 Ancient Geography, p. 374. 

* Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 526. 

5 H. C. Ray Chaudhuri, Early History of the- Vaisnava Sect, p. 99. 

* Ibid,, p. 100. 

J Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 316. 

S 4th Amsa, Chap. 4. 

9 Brahmapurana, Chap. 14, sloka 54. 

"i UarKamm, Chap. 37. " Ibid., Chap. 195, Sloka, 3. 

12 Skanda'purana, Visnukhanda; Bhagavata Mahatmya, Chap. I. 
i3 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 536. 
l * Visnupurana, 4th Amsa, Chap. 23. 


As regards Buddhist semi-historical records, we read in the 
Lalitavistara * of a king of the Surasenas named Suvahu, who had 
his capital at Mathura. He is said to have been a heretic, but a 
great king of Jambudipa (India) . s Mathura is also mentioned in 
the earliest chronicle of Ceylon, the Dipavamsa, 3 where we are told 
that sons and grandsons of Prince Sadhina reigned 'over the great 
kingdom of Madhura, the best of towns'. 

In the Ghata Jataka we read that in Upper Madhura there 
reigned a king named Mahasagara, who had two sons, Sagara and 
Upasagara. On his death the elder son became king and the younger 
Vicerov {= heir-apparent ?). Upasagara quarrelled with Sagara and 
went to Uttarapatha in the Kamsa district, to the city of Asitanjana 
which was ruled over by King Mahakamsa, who had two sons, 
Kamsa and Upakamsa, and one daughter, Devagabbha. It was 
foretold that this daughter would bear a son who would kill his 
maternal uncles. Believing this prediction, on the death of King 
Mahakamsa the two brothers kept their sister in a separate round 
tower specially built for her, so that she should remain unmarried. 
But despite their precautions, Devagabbha and Upasagara saw each 
other, fell in love, and contrived to meet. When her brothers dis- 
covered the intrigue, they gave Devagabbha in marriage to Upasagara, 
and a daughter was born soon afterwards. The two brothers were 
pleased, and allotted to their sister and brother-in-law a village named 
Govaddhamana. In course of time, Devagabbha gave birth to ten 
sons, ' and her serving woman Nandagopa to ten daughters. 
■ Devagabbha, however, secretly exchanged her ten sons for the ten 
daughters of her maid. When the boys grew up, they became 
plunderers and their fosterfather, Andhaka-Venhu, was often rebuked 
by King Kamsa. At last Andhaka-Venhu told the king the secret 
of the birth of the ten sons. An arena was prepared for a wrestling 
match in the city. When the ten sons entered the ring and were 
about to be caught, the eldest of the ten, Vasudeva, threw a wheel 
which cut off the heads of Kamsa and Upakamsa, and himself 
assumed the sovereignty of the city of Asitanjana. 4 The Jataka 
storv ends with the accession of Vasudeva to the throne of Mathura. 
The PeHmUhu Commentary gives a different story of the adventure 
of the ten sons who were born to the king of Uttara-Madhura. 5 

1 Ed. Lefmann, pp. 21-2. 

2 Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha, p. 29. 
8 Oldenberg, Dlpavamsa, p. 27. 

* Jataka {Fausboll), Vol. IV, pp. 79 foil. 

s PetavatthuComm., m ff.; see also B. C. Law, Buddhist Conceptio 
and Ed., p. 99. 


A king of Mathura named Brahmamitra was probably con- 
temporary with king Indramitra of Ahiccliatra, for both names are 
found in the dedicatory inscriptions of queens on pillars of the railing 
at Buddhagaya, which is generally assigned to the earlier part of the } 
first century B.C. 1 Rapson points out 2 that in the second century 
B C Mathura was governed by native princes whose names are known 
from their coins; and it passed from them into the possession of one 
of the families of Saka satraps, c. 100 B.C. Menander (Milinda), 
king of Kabul and the Punjab, presumably occupied Mathura, 3 and 
many of his coins have been discovered there.* Numismatic evidence 
seems to prove 5 that the Hindu kings of Mathura were finally 
replaced by Hagana, Hagamasha, Rajuvula, and other Saka Satraps 
who probably flourished in or about the first century A.D. In the 
second century A.D. Mathura was under the sway of Huvishka, the 
Kushan king. " This is evidenced by a splendid Buddhist monastery 
which bears his names. 8 

The epigraphic evidence that in the first century B.C. the region 
of Mathura had passed from native Indian to foreign (Saka) rule is 
confirmed and amplified by the evidence of coins. A Muttra (i.e. 
Mathura) inscription, according to R. Chanda, records the erection 
of a torana, vedika and catuMdla at the Mahasthana of Vasudeva, 
in the reign of the Mahak'satrapa Sodasa. 7 The Mathura naga 
statuette inscription is evidence of serpent worship in Mathura, 
which is important in view of the story of Kaliya naga and his 
suppression by Krsna, recorded in the Puranas compiled during the 
Gupta period. 8 

Brown 9 says that cast coins were issued at the close of the third 
century by the kingdoms of Mathura, Ayodhya and Kausambi, 
some of winch bear the names of local kings in the Brahmi script. 
In the ruins of Mathura, many ancient copper coins along with many 
coins of the Greek and Saka rulers were discovered. 10 Among the 
coins discovered in this region, those of the Arjunayanas are of 
special interest. 11 

The Pre-Kushan sculptures of Muttra are the most instructive, 
because they all emanate from the same school. These sculptures 
may be divided into three main classes, the earliest belonging approxi- 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 526. B Ancient India, p. 174 

3 Smith, Fiitly History of India., p. 199. 

4 R. D. Banerjee. Pra&na Mudrd, p. 50. 5 Smith, op. cit., p. 227 

6 Ibid., p. 271. 

7 Early History of the Vaisnava Sect, pp. 98-9. 8 Ibid., p. roo. 

9 Coins of India, p. 19. 10 Pracina Mudra, pp. 105, ro6. 
11 Cunningham, Coins of India, pp. 89-90; see also R. D. Banerjee 's Priictna 
Mudm,p. 109. 


mately to the middle of the second century B.C., the second to the 
following century, and the hist being associated with the rule of the 
local Satraps. The sculptures of the third class are more exceptional. 
Their style is that of the early school in a late and decadent phase, 
when its cut was becoming conventionalised and lifeless. A little 
before the beginning of the Christian era, Muttra had become the 
capital of a satrapy either subordinate to, or closely connected with, 
the Scytho-Parthian kingdom of Taxila. As a result, there was an 
influx there of the semi-Hellenistic Art, too weak in its environment 
to maintain its own individuality, yet still strong enough to interrupt 
and enervate the older traditions of Hindusthan ... As an illustra- 
tion of the close relations that existed between Muttra and the 
north-west, the votive tables of Lona-sobhika is particularly 
significant, the stupa depicted on it being identical in form with the 
stupas of the Scytho-Parthian epoch at Taxila, but unlike any 
monument of the' class in Hindusthan. 1 Sir Charles Eliot points 
out a that we need not feel surprise if we find in the religious thought 
of Muttra elements traceable to Greece, Persia or Central Asia, 
because we know that the sculptural remains found at Mathura 
indicate the presence of Graeco-Bactrian influence. 

Smith remarks 3 that Mathura was probably the original site of 
the celebrated iron pillar at Delhi, on which the eulogy of a powerful 
king named Chandra is incised. As Rapson says, we possess a most 
valuable monument of the Saka Satraps of Mathura, which was 
discovered by Bhagavanlal Indraji, who bequeathed it to the British 
Museum. 'It is in the form of a large lion carved in red sandstone 
and intended to be the capital of a pillar. The workmanship shows 
undoubted Persian influence. The surface is completely covered with 
inscriptions in Kharosthi characters which give the genealogy of the 
Satrapal family rifling at Muttra. These inscriptions show that the 
Satraps of Muttra were Buddhists'.* 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 633. 

2 Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. II, p. 158. 

3 Early History of India-, p. 386. 

* Rapson, .Ancient India, pp. 142-3, 158. 


The Cedis formed one of the most ancient tribes among the 
Ksatriyas in early Vedic times. As early as the period of the Rgveda, 
g&S i kings had acquired great renown by their munificent gifts 
at sacrifices and also by their great prowess in battle. |si 
Brahmatithi of the family of Kanva sings the praises of King Kasn, 
fhe Caidya, in a hymn addressed to the Asyins (Rgveda, \ III, 
s 17^1) From this account, even making allowances tor some 
exaggeration, which is ineyitable in these Danastntis or laudatory 
verses for munificence and charity, one may conclude that the Cedi 
king was yerv powerful, for he is described as making a gltt ot ten 
Rajas or kings as slaves to a priest who officiated at one of his 

The Cedis are not expressly mentioned in the later Vedic 
literature, but it would be wrong to suppose that they had become 
extinct for they appear in the Mahabharata as one ot the leading 
powers' of Northern India. It is probable that they were not so 
prominent in their sacrificial rites, or their political power, in the 
Brahmana age as they had been in the earlier era of the Rgvedic 
hymns; but there were ups and downs in the history of every great 
Ksatriya power in India. . 

' Another well-known Cedi monarch of ancient times, Vasu, who 
acquired the designation of Uparicara, is glorified in the Mahabharata, 
and traditions about him and his successors are also recorded in the 
Tatakas This Cedi king appears to have been characterised by 
great religious merit. Himself a Paurava, he is recorded to have been 
through his daughter Satyavati, the progenitor of the Kauravas and 
the Pandavas. , 

In the Adiparvan of the Mahabharata, 1 we read that Vasu, the 
Paurava, conquered the beautiful and excellent kingdom of the 
Cedis on the advice of the god Indra, whose friendship he had 
acquired by his austerities, and who, pleased with his asceticism, 
presented him with a great crystal car. 8 Because of his nding on 
it and moving through the upper regions like a celestial being, he 
came to be known as Uparicara." King Uparicara Vasu had one 
son and one daughter by an apsara named Adrika. The daughter, 

i M. N. Dutt, Mahabharata, p. 83. 

* Ibid.,?. 84. 3 Ibid., p. 85. 


who was named Satyavati, became the mother of Krsnadvaipayana 
and others, and was the queen of King Santanu. The son after- 
wards became a virtuous and powerful monarch named Matsya. 
We further read that Uparicara Vasu Caidya had a few other sons, 
namely, Brhadratha, Pratyagraha, Kusamba and others, who 
founded kingdoms and cities which were named after them. 1 The 
Vayupurana (Chap. 99) also confirms the story of the conquest of 
the Cedi country by Vasu the Paurava. We read there that Yayati 
had a chariot which used to move according to his desire. This 
chariot came into the hands of Vasu, king of the Cedis. According 
to another account, Vasu, a descendant of Kuru, conquered the 
Yadava kingdom of Cedi, and established himself there, whence he 
was known as Caidya -Uparicara. His capital was Suktimati on the 
river of the same name. He extended his conquests eastwards as 
far as Magadha and apparently also north-west over Matsya. He 
divided his territories of Magadha, Cedi, Kausambi, Karttsa and 
apparently Matsya among his five sons. His eldest son Brhadratha 
took Magadha with Girivraja as his capital, and founded tie famous 
Barhadratha dynasty there. 8 

Another section of the Mahabharata 3 also speaks of the great- 
ness of the Cedi monarch, Uparicara Vasu, and describes" an 
Asvamedha sacrifice which he performed. 

In the Cetiya Jataka, 4 we find a dynastic list of the ancestors of 
Upacara or Apacara, who was the ruler of Sotthivatinagara 5 in the 
kingdom of Ceti. King Upacara had five sons one of whom went 
to the east, and founded Hatthipura; while the second son went to 
the south, and founded Assapura; the third to the west, and founded 
Sihapura; the fourth to the north, and founded Uttarapahcala ; and 
the last son went to the north-west, and founded Daddarapura. 

The next Cedi monarch who appears to have acquired con- 
siderable power in the Epic period is Sisupala who is called 
Damaghosasuta (Mbh., I, 7029) or Damaghosatmaj a (II, 1594; 
III, 516). He allied himself with the great jarasandha and on 
account of his heroism was appointed generalissimo of the Magadhan 
emperor. 6 His conduct appears to have roused the displeasure of 
many of the Ksatriya tribes of his time, but he was looked upon 
with such fear that he was considered as an incarnation of the great 
Daitva Hiranya-Kasipu, 7 and the Epic tells us that he bore a charmed 

1 M. N. Dutt, Mbh,, p. 84; Mbh. Atiparvan, Chap. 63, pp. 69-71. 

2 Pargtter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, p. 282. 

3 Mbh., Sanlipaman, Chaps. 136 and 137, pp. 1802-4. 

* Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. Ill, pp. 454-461. See also Paiicala chapter. 

5 Evidently identical with Suktimati. 

9 Mbh., II, 14, 10-ri. 7 Adiparvan, 67, 5. 


life unassailable by any ordinary mortal. 1 He was related on his 
mother's side to the Satvats or Yadavas, but he allied himself with 
Kamsa and Jarasandha, enemies of the Yadavas, destroyed their 
city, Dvaraka, and molested them in other ways. 

The Yadava hero, Ktsna, had been awaiting a suitable oppor- 
tunity to remove this great enemy of his family. Such an oppor- 
tunity was afforded him at the Rajasiiya sacrifice of Yudhisthira 
who, by his conquests, had acquired the position of a suzerain among 
the Ksatriya monarchs of Northern India. Yudhisthira, finding it 
incumbent upon him, according to the procedure of the sacrifice, 
to make an arghya (offering) to the most honoured and worthy 
individual present in the assemblage gathered at his court on this 
occasion, was advised by Bhisnia to offer the arghya to Krsna. This 
aroused the ire of Sisupala who strongly protested against, this 
decision, and succeeded in securing the support of a large number of 
other kings. Sisupala challenged Krsna, being desirous to slay him 
with all the Pandavas. Krsna related all of Sisupala's misdeeds, 
and then thought of his magic discus which came into his hand; 
therewith he instantly cut off the head of Sisupala ; the kings beheld 
a fiery energy issuing out of the body of Sisupala and entering 
Krsna's body; the sky, though cloudless, poured showers of rain. 
Yudhisthira caused his brothers to perform the funeral rites of 
Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa; then he, with all the kings, installed 
the son of Sisupala in the sovereignty of the Cedis. 

The Puranas corroborate the Epic story of Sisupala. We read 
in the Agnifiurana (4, 14} that Damaghosa, king of the _ Cedis, 
married Srutasrava, sister of Vasudeva ; and Sisupala was their son. 2 
Further details from the Mahabharata may be summarised as follows. 
Damaghosa's son, Sisupala, king of the Cedis, _ attended the 
Svayamvara of Draupadl. 3 Bhimasena went to the kingdom of Cedi 
and'easily subdued Sisupala. 4 Karna conquered the son of Sisupala, 
and other neighbouring kings. 5 Dhrstaketu who, after the death of 
his father, had been placed upon the throne of the Cedis by 
Yudhisthira, became a friend of the Pandavas, and when the 
great war broke out, he was appointed leader of the Cedi army 
which marched to the battle-field to help the Pandavas. 6 The Cedis 
must have been very powerful at the time, for we are told that 
Dhrstaketu led one complete aksauhinl to the field. 7 Dhrstaketu 
went to the battle-field on a Kambojian horse which had variegated 

' II, Chaps. 42 and 43. 2 Vayu P., Chap. 96; Brahma P., Chap. 14. 

8 Mbh., Adiparvan, Chap. 87, p. 177. 

* Ibid., Sabhaparvan, Chap. 29, p. 241. B Ibid., Chap. 253, pp. 513-4- 

6 Ibid., Udyogaparvan, Chap. 156, p. 777; Chap. 198, pp. 807-8. 

7 V, ig. 

colours like a deer. 1 The Cedi king along with Bhima and others 
was placed in the front of the Pandava army. 2 He and his brother 
Suketu were killed in the Kuruksetra war. 3 Bhima mentioned 
eighteen kings who by their great strength ruined their friends and 
relations, and among them was Sahaja of the Cedi dynasty. 4 From 
the Asvamedhaparvan of the Mahabhdrata , 5 we learn that Arjuna 
fought and defeated Sarabha, the son of Sisupala, at the, city of 
Sukti in the kingdom of Cedi. 

The Vimupiircma (4-12) and the Agnifiurana (275) tell us 
that the descendants of Cedi, son of Kausika, were known as Caidyas. 
The Markandeya Purdna (Chaps. 129-31) refers to a Cedi_ princess, 
Susobhana by name, who was one of the many queens of King Maru. 
It is recorded in the Visn-upurana (4, 12) that Vidarbha, son of 
Jyamagha, had three sons of whom Kausika was one. Cedi was a 
son of Kausika, and the descendants of this Cedi were known as 
Caidyarajas." In the Matsyafurana (Chap. 44), Cedi is written as 
Cidi. 7 The Kurmapurdna (Chap. 24) tells a similar story of the 
origin of the name of Cedi. King Vidarbha, it says, had a son named 
Cidi, and after him, his descendants came to be known as Caidyas. 
Dyutiman was the eldest of his sons, the others being Vapusma.11, 
Brhatmedha, Srideva and Vitaratha. Pargiter observes 8 that Cedi 
and other kingdoms, e.g. Vatsa, did not come under the ride of the 
Panravas; but we may note that the famous king Vasu Uparicara 
was a Paurava by birth. Pargiter suggests that Pratyagraha may 
have taken Cedi. 9 

In the Mahabhdrata, we find the Cedis allied in a group with such 
western tribes as the Pancalas, Matsyas and Karnsas, and also with 
peoples who lived in the east, such as the Kasis and Kosalas. We 
read of the Cedi-Karusakah bhumipalah, or rulers of the Cedis and 
Karusakas, who espoused the cause of the Pattdavas. 10 Elsewhere 
the Cedi-Pahcala-Kaikeyas are grouped together. 11 Again, we are 
told that Dhrstaketu was the leader of the Cedi-Kasi-Karusa peoples 12 ; 
and we find the group Cedi-Kasi-Karusa fighting together. 13 Some- 
times the Cedis are grouped together with the Kariisas and the 

1 Dronaparvcm, Chap. 22, pp. 1012-3. 

■■ Bhlsnuiparva.ii , Chap. 19, p. 830. flee also Chap. 59, p. 935. 

' Mhh., Karnaparvan, Chap. 6, p. 1169. 

i Ibid., Udyogaparvan, Chap. 74, p. 717. Cf. Ibid., Chap. 72, p. 714. 

* Chapters J S 3-4, pp. 2093-4. 

• Vdyupurana, Chap. 95. 7 Agmpurana, Chap. 275. 
' Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, p. 293. 

1 Ktf*.,p.Il8. 10 V.23. 

1 V, 144. JZ v - x 9 6 - 

5 VI, 47; VI, 106; VI, 115; VI, 116. 


Matsyas 1 ; or with the Karusas, Matsyas, and Paficalas 2 ; or with 
the Karusas and Kosalas. 3 These examples could be further 
multiplied"; but we can gather from those already quoted that the 
Cedis are found combined with the Matsyas in the majority of cases, 
and it seems that the Matsyas were their immediate neighbours on 
the west, and the Kasis on the east. 

The capital of the Cedi king, Dhrstaketu, is called Suktimati,* 
and is described as named after Sukti or oyster. 5 This city appears 
to have stood on the river Suktimati which, we are told, 13 flowed near 
the capital of the Cedi king, Vasu Uparicara, and which is also 
described in the geographical chapter of the Bhismaparvan (VI, 9) 
as one of the rivers in Bharatavarsa. 

The Visnudharmottara Mahdpurana (Chap. 9) mentions Cedi 
as a janapada or country, and so does the Padmafiurdna (3rd 
chapter) . Cedi (Ceti) is also mentioned in the Jaina and Buddhist 
literatures as one of the sixteen mahdjanapadas. 7 The Cetis, says 
Rhys Davids, were probably the same tribe as that called Cedi in 
older documents, and had two distinct settlements. One, probably 
the older, was in the mountains in what is now called Nepal. The 
other, probablv a later colony, was near Kausambi to the east, 
and has been" confused with the land of the Vamsa (Vatsa). 8 
S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar in his Ancient India 6 agrees _ with 
Rhys Davids that one branch of the Cedis had their local habitat in 
Bundelkhand, the other being located somewhere in Nepal. D. R. 
Bhandarkar says that Ceta or Cetiya corresponds roughly to the 
modern Bundelkhand I0 ; while Rapson says that in the post-Vedlc 
period the Cedis occupied the northern portion of the Central 
Provinces. 11 In the Cambridge History of India (p. 84), we read that 
the Cedis dwelt in Bundelkhand to the north of the Vindhyas; while 
Pargiter says 12 that Cedi lay along the south of the Jumna. The 
following is a summary given by N. L. Dey in his Geographical 
Dictionary (p. 14) : According to Tod, Chanderi, a town in Malwa, 
was the capital of Sisupala who was killed by Krsna. According to 
Dr. Fuhrer, Dahala Mandala was the ancient Cedi. Some arc of 
opinion that Cedi comprised the southern portion of Bundelkhand 
and northern portion of Jabbalpur. Kalanjara was the capital of 
Cedi under the Gupta kings. Cedi was also called Tripuri. 

1 VT, 54; VIII, 3D. 2 VI, 59. 3 VII, 21. 

* Mbk., Ill, 22. 6 Mbh., XIV, 83. B Mbk., I, 63. 

7 Angutlara Nikdya, Vol. IV, pp. 252, 256 and 260; Cf. Bhagavati Sutra. 

8 Buddhist India, p. 26. B p. 8. 

«> Carmichael Lectures, r<)i8, p. 52. ll Ancient India '-p. 162. 

1B Ancient Indian Tradition-, p. 272. 


Cunningliam remarks that in the inscriptions of the Kalachuri or 
Haihaya dynasty of Cedi, the Rajas assumed the titles of %ords of 
Kalanjarapura and of Tri-Kalihga'. Kakmjar is the well-known 
hill-fort in Bundelkhand; and Tri-Kalihga or the 'three Kalihgas' 
must be the three kingdoms of Dhanaka or Amaravati on the Kistna, 
Andlira or Warangal, and Kalinga or Rajamahendri. 1 

It is stated in the Vessantara Jataka that Cetarattha (i.e. Cedi- 
rilstra, kingdom of the Cedis) was 30 yojanas distant from Jetuttara- 
nagara, the birthplace of King Vessantara. It was inhabited 
by 60,000 Khattiyas (Ksatriyas) who are also described as Cetiya- 
rajas. ' Vessantara with his wife and children started from Jetuttara 
at breakfast-time and reached the capital of Cetarattha in the evening. 
The Cedis' hospitality to strangers is illustrated by this story; for 
we read that the Cedis offered food and hospitality to Vessantara 
who had been banished from the kingdom of his father Sivi; and 
when the prince proceeded to Vankapabbata, the '60,000 Khattiyas' 
followed him to a certain distance as a kind of bodyguard. 2 

In the Adi-parvan of the Mahabhdrata, we read that the kingdom 
of Cedi was full of riches, gems and precious stones, and contained 
much mineral wealth. The cities in the kingdom were full of honest, 
virtuous, and contented people. Here sons were mindful of their 
parents' welfare; here lean kine were never yoked to the plough or 
to the cart engaged in earning merchandise — they were all well-fed 
and fat. In Cedi, the four castes were engaged in doing their respec- 
tive duties. 8 

In the Vedabbha Jataka, we read that in a village 111 Benares 
there was a brahmin who was acquainted with a charm called 
Vedabbha. He went to the Cetiya country with the 'Bodlusattva, 
who was his pupil. Five hundred robbers caught them in a forest 
on the way, took the brahmin prisoner, and told the Bodhisattva to 
fetch a ransom for him. By repeating his charm, the brahmin 
caused money to shower from the sky ; whereupon the robbers took 
the money and released him. But the first band of robbers was 
attacked bv another band of the same number; and eventually the 
brahmin and all the robbers were destroyed, so that when the 
Bodhisattva returned with the ransom money, he found none there. 4 
This account shows that the way from Benares to Cedi was frequented 
by robbers and was unsafe for travellers. 

■ Ancient Geography, p. 518.' 

! Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. VI, pp. 514-5. 

1 M. N. Putt. MakabhiraUi, Adiparvan, p. 84. 

' Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. I, pp. 253 foil. 


In the Anguttara Nikaya, 1 we read that on several occasions 
Mahacunda, an eminent disciple of the Bnddha, dwelt in the town of 
Sahajati among the Cedis. The same Nikaya 2 further tells us that 
Anuruddha (first cousin and disciple of the Buddha) dwelt among the 
Cedis in the Deer-Park of Pacinavamsa. In the Digha Nikaya, 3 we 
read that the Buddha went to the Cedis and other tribes while out 
preaching; while the Samyutta Nikaya * informs us that many theras 
were dwelling among the Cedis in the Sahaiicanika. 

The Cedis of the Vedic period, like other tribes, e.g. the Punts, 
were a group of families, says Dr. V. A. Smith, and in each family the 
father was master. The whole tribe was governed by a Raja 
whose power was checked to an undefined extent by a tribal council. 
The details recorded suggest that the life of the people was not unlike 
that of many tribes of Afghanistan in modern times, before the 
introduction of fire-arms. 6 

The later kings of Cedi used an era according to which the 
year i was equivalent to A.D. 248-9. This era, also called the 
Traikiitaka, originated in Western India, where its use can be traced 
back to the fifth century. The reason for its adoption by the kings 
of Cedi is not apparent. 6 Rapson remarks that each of certain eras, 
e.g. the Traikutaka, Cedi, or Kalacuri era of 249 A.D., the Gupta era 
of 319 A.D., and the era of King Harsavardhana of 606 A.D., marks 
the establishment of a great power in some region of India, and 
originally denoted the regnal years of its founder. 7 

Kokalladcva I of the Cedi dynasty helped Bhojadeva II (c. 907- 
910 A.D.) to ascend the throne of Kanouj ; and it is evident from the 
stone inscription of the kings of the Cedi dynasty discovered at 
Vishari that' Kokalladeva I erected two wonderful monuments. 8 
During the reign of Mahipaladeva of Bengal (c. 978-1030), 
Gahgeyadeva of the Cedi dynasty attacked Gauda and occupied 
Mithila.. 9 Towards the close of the eleventh century, Kanyakubja 
(Kanouj) came under the sway of Karnadeva (c. 1040-1070), son of 
Gangeyadeva. 10 

Numismatists suppose that Gahgeyadeva issued a new coinage in 
Uttarapatha." Only coins of this monarch of the Cedi dynasty of 

1 Vol. Ill (P.T.S.), pp. 355-6; Vol. V, pp. 41 S. ; 157-161. 

2 P.T.S., Vol. IV, pp. 228 ff. 

3 Vol. II, pp. 200, 201, 203, Janavasabha Stittanta. * Vol. V, pp. 436-7- 

5 Ancient und Hindu India, p. 22. 

6 V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 409. 
' Ancient India, p. 22. 

8 R. D. Banerjee, Vangalar Itihasa, p. 202. 
8 Ibid., p. 224. 
10 Pyacina Mudrd, p. 215. u ibid., p. 211. 


Dahala have been discovered, and no coins of the kings prior or 
posterior to him in the dynasty are known to us. 1 Gold, silver and 
copper coins of Carigeyadeva have been discovered. On one side is 
the name of the king in two lines, and on the other a figure of a four- 
armed goddess. 2 

Coins of one king of the Cedi or Kalacuri dynasty of Kalyanapura 
have also been discovered. On one side of the coins is engraved the 
figure of the boar-incarnation, and on the other is written ' Muran 
in Nagari characters. Murari, as R. D. Banerjee says, is perhaps 
another name of Somesvaradeva, the second king of the above- 
mentioned Cedi dynasty. 3 

i Prdcltta Mudra, p. 212. 

■ ».nm ./M.,p.i8 4 . 


The Madras i were an ancient Ksatriya tribe of Vedic times. 
Thev are not mentioned in .the early Vedic Samhitas, but the Vamsa 
Brahmana of the Sdmaveda mentions an ancient Vedic teacher, 
Madraga'ra Sauhgavani, from whom Aupamanyava, the Kambojan, 
received the Vedic lore (cf. chapter on Kambojas). From the name 
Madragara, scholars infer that Saungayani belonged to the Madra 
tribe, 2 and the fact that Vedic learning had spread so much among the 
Madras as to give one of them a prominent place in a list of ancient 
teachers would seem to show that the Madras belonged to the Vedic 
Aryandom before the age of the Brdhmanas. Their Vedic learning 
in Brahmana times is testified to by the Satapatha Brahmana where 
we find that sages of N. India, most probably of the Kuru-Pafkala 
district, repaired to the Madra country to receive their education 
in Vedic learning. In the Brhadaranyaka Vpanisad (III, 7, 1). 
Uddalaka Aruni tells Yajhavaikya: 'We dwelt among the Madras' 
in the houses of Patancala Kapya, studying the sacrifice'. And 
again, Bhujyu Lahayani says, 'We wandered about as students, and 
came to the house of Patancala Kapya' {Brh. Up., Ill, 3, 1). 

In the Aitareya Brahmana (VIII, 14, 3), we find the mention of a 
section of the Madra people, the Uttara or N. Madras who 
lived bevond the Himalayas (parena Himavantam) in the N. regions 
close to the Uttara- Kurus. Uttara-Madra is supposed by scholars to 
have been located in Kashmir. 3 

In the Ramdyana, we read that Sugriva sent monkeys to the 
Madrakas and other tribes in quest of Sita.* In the Visnupurana 
(2, 3, I 7). mention is made of Madra together with Arama, Parasika, 
etc. and in the Matsyafiurdna (114, 41) together with Gandhara, 
Vavana, etc. In the same Parana (208, 5), King Asvapati of Sakala 
in the kingdom of the Madras is referred to. Madra (Pali Madda) 
is not mentioned in the list of sixteen Mahdjanafadas in Buddhist 
literature. It has been supposed by some that Madra is to be 
identified with Vahlika 5 (see Chapter on Vahlikas). The Madras 

1 Mr. H. C. Ray lias contributed a paper to the J.A.S.B. (New Series, 
Vol. XVIII, 1922, No. 4) on the same subject. 

2 Vedic Index, II, p. 123. 3 Zimmer, Altindisches F.eben, p. 102. 
* Ramdyana (Griffith's translation}, Additional Notes, p. 43. 

5 N. L. Hey, Geographical Dictionary, p. 49. 


held the central portions of the Punjab; • they appear in the Epic 
period to have occupied the district of Sialkot, between the rivers 
Chenab and Raw', 2 or, according to some, between the Jhelum and 
the Ravi. 3 The Madra tribe or kingdom is mentioned in the 
Bhismaparvan of the Mahabharata (Chap. IX), in Varahamihira's 
Brhatsamhita* and in Panini's grammar (II, 3, 73; IV, 4, 67). It 
is' evident from the Allahabad Pillar Inscription that the Madra 
territory was contiguous with that of the Yaudheyas. 6 

The capital of the Madras was Sagala (Pali) or Sakala 6 
(Sanskrit), which has been identified by General Cunningham with 
Sanglawala-Tiba, to the west of the Ravi [Ancient Geography of India, 
p. 180). According to Cunningham, Sakala is still known as Madra- 
desa or the district of the Madras. It lay about 32 N. by 74 E. 7 

It appears from Hwui-lih that the pilgrim Hsiian Tsang visited 
Sakala. The old town of Sakala (She-ki-lo), according to the great 
pilgrim, was about 20 li in circuit. Although its walls had been 
thrown' down, the foundation was still firm and strong, and in the 
midst of it a town of 6 or 7 li in circuit had been built. There was 
in Sakala a Sangharama (monastery) with about 100 priests of the 
Hinayana school, and N.W. of the Sangharama was a stupa about 
200 feet high, built by Asoka ; while a stone stupa of about the same 
height, also built by Asoka, stood about 10 li to the N.E. of the ' 
new capital. 8 , . 

The Milmda Panho gives a splendid description of the Madra 
capital: 'There is a great centre of trade called Sagala, the famous 
city of yore in the country of the Yonakas. Sagala is situated in a 
delightful countrv, well-watered and hilly, abounding in parks and 
gardens, groves, lakes and tanks, a paradise of rivers and mountains 
and woods. Wise architects have laid it out. Brave is its defence, 
with many strong towers and ramparts, with superb gates and en- 
trance archways, and with the royal citadel in its midst, white-walled 
and deeply moated. Well laid out are its streets, squares, cross-roads 
and market places. Its shops are tilled with various costly mer- 
chandise. It is richly adorned with hundreds of alms-halls of various 
kinds and splendid' with hundreds of thousands of magnificent 

1 V. A. Smith, Early History of India {4th Ed.), p. 302. 

2 Cambridge History of India, Ancient India, pp. 549-550- . 

a Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 185; and see also ibid., pp. 5-6. 

4 Kern, Brhatsamhita, p. 92. 

5 R. C. Majumdar. Corporate Life in Ancient India, p. 272. 

« Mbk., II, tr«5; VIII, 2033. B m „ ., _ , „ . , 

I Cunningham, Ancient Geography of India, p. 185; Rhys Davids, Buddhist 
India, p. 39. „ , 

8 Beal, Records of the Western World, Vol. I, pp. 166 et seq. 


mansions . . ' The passage goes on to describe the traffk of ele- 
phants horses, carriages and pedestrians; the welcome given to 
teachers of all creeds, and the rich produce, precious metals, and 
delicacies which are to be found in the city. It is described as 
rivalling Uttara-Kuru in wealth and Alakamanda, the city of the 
Gods, in glory [Milinda Panho, pp. i and 2, and Trsl. S.B.E., 

' According to the evidence of the Sanskrit Epics and Pali Jatakas, 
the Madras were Ksatriyas, and they entered into matrimonial 
alliance with the Ksatriya dynasties of the Gangetic kingdoms 
(see the account of the marriage of Pandu, the Kuru king, and a 
Madra princess; cf. also Mbh., Idiparvan, Chap. 95 (marriage of 
Pariksit and Madra vati). 

The Jatakas bear ample testimony to the fact that the Madra 
princesses were sought in marriage by the great Ksatriya houses of 
N. India. Thus we read in the Kusa-J&taka that a certain 
king of Madra had seven daughters of great beauty. The eldest of 
them, Pabhavati, was given in marriage to Kusa (or Kusa), son of 
King Okkaka, and the kingdoms of Madra and Kusavati were thus 
united by matrimonial alliance. 1 

The same story of the union of Prince Kusa of the great Iksvaku 
family with a Madra princess is told in the Mahavastu-Avadana, 
with some variations. At Benares, we are told, there was a king 
named Kusa belonging to the Iksvaku family. His ministers, m 
quest of a beautiful bride for the king, reached the city _ of 
Kanvakubja in the kingdom of Surasena where the Madra king 
Mahendra ruled. Seeing his beautiful daughter, they approached 
the king who readily consented to give her in marriage to King 
Kusa of Benares. But King Kusa's appearance was repulsive, and 
his wife Sudarsana, discovering the defects in him, left Benares and 
returned to Kanyakubja. When he discovered his wife's absence, 
Kusa immediately set out in pursuit. Arriving at his father-in-law's 
palace, he tried by various means to regain his wife's favour, but in 
vain. Finally he disguised himself as a cook and prepared some 
delicious soup through which he won the king's favour. In the 
meantime, seven Ksatriya kings from neighbouring countries came to 
win Sudarsana, but they were refused. Then Kusa, practically 
single-handed, drove all the seven kings away, and having saved 
his father-in-law's kingdom, returned with his wife to Ids own 
country. The Madra king, Mahendra, on the advice of his son-in- 
law, gave his remaining seven daughters in marriage to the seven 

1 Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. V, pp. 284 foil. 


kings who had come to attack him, and thereby strengthened his 
position. 1 , 

From the Kilinga-BoiH Jdtaha we observe that even a prince 
of the royal house of Kalihga in the far east sought the hand of a 
princess of the Madia country. A daughter was born to the king ot 
Madra in the citv of Sagala. It was foretold that the girl should 
live as an ascetic but that her son would be universal monarch Ihe 
kings of India heard of this prediction and surrounded the city 
with the object of seeking the princess's hand. The king oi Madra 
could not give his daughter in marriage to any one of them without 
incurring the wrath of the others. So he fled to a forest with his wire 
and daughter. The prince of Kalihga, who was also in the forest, 
happened to meet the Madra princess, and fell m love with her. 
Learning that she was a Ksatriva like himself, he obtained her parents 
consent to their marriage, and a matrimonial alliance was thus 
established between the royal houses of Madra and Kalmga. 2 In the 
ChaJdanl.i Jataka, we find that the royal houses of Benares and 
Madra were allied with each other through matrimony ' (sec also 
Idtaha, Vol. VI, p. i). The great Ceylonese chronicle (Mahavamsa 
8, 7) records an alliance between a Madra princess and a prince ot 
Eastern India. , 

The Madras, according to the Arthasastm of Kautilya (p. 455), 
were a corporation of warriors, and enjoyed- the status of rajas 
tmiasabdopajivinah). The MahMhirata « tells us that it was a 
family custom of the Madras to receive a fee from the bridegroom 
when they gave their daughters in marriage. The marriage proposal 
was first made by the bridegroom's party to the bride's party When 
Pandu the Kum prince, won the hand of Kunti, the daughter of a 
Bhoja king, in a Svavamvara (the ceremony of a woman's choosing 
her husband), Bhlsma wished him to take a second wife as well. 
Bhisma accordingly set out with a retinue and coming to the city 
of tile Madia king named Salva of the Vahlika dynasty, asked the 
king to give his sistei in mairiage to Pandu. Salya told him oi the 
custom of receiving a fee; BhTstna consented and having given the 
Madra king much wealth as fee for the bride, he brought her to 
Hastinapura, where the marriage ceremony was performed." 

In the Great Epic, we have further details of Salya, king of the 
Madras. On the eve of the Kuruksetra war, Yudhistlura sent 
messengers a.-king Salva for his assistance. The king set out with 
his brave sons and a huge army. When on the march, this army 

■ Jtitka (IWXSU), Vol. IV, pp. 228 foil. » «■. Vol. V, pp 37 Ml. 

■ Adifiarlm, Chap. 113. ' < M - see abo Ch ^- 95 ' 


occupied the space of half a yojana. Hearing of the Madra king's 
might, Duryodhana decided to seek his alliance, and received him 
on the way, giving him a great ovation. Salya was highly pleased 
with his reception, and offered Duryodhana a boon. Thereupon 
Durvodhana solicited his help in the ensuing Kuruksetra war; and 
King Salya consented, subsequently asking Yudhisthira to release him 
(on certain conditions) from his previous promise. After severe 
fighting, and many vicissitudes, the Madra soldiers were killed by 
Arjuna. 1 

The legend of Savitri and Satyavan, so popular all over India, 
is connected with the Madra country, for Savitri was the daughter 
of Asvapati, king of Madra. This story is too well-known to require 
repetition here. 2 

As far as authentic history is concerned, we learn that the Madra 
dominions, including the capital, Sakala, came under the sway of 
Alexander the Great (326 B.C.) who placed them under the Satrap 
of the adjacent territory between the Jhelum and the Chenab. 3 

In the course- of the centuries following the death of the Buddha, 
the Buddhist religion spread from the N.E. districts of India to 
the extreme West, — no doubt largely owing to the powerful prose- 
lytising zeal of the great Maurya Emperor Asoka. About 78 A.D., 
we find Menander (Milinda), a powerful Greek king, ruling at Sakala, 
and the Pali 'Milinda Panho' gives a full account of this king's 
conversion to Buddhism.* During Menander's reign, the people 
knew of no oppression, since all their enemies had been conquered. 
Even before Menander's time, Sakala seems to have come under 
Buddhist influence (see, e.g. Mrs. Rhys Davids' Psalms of the 
Sisters, p. 48; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 359)- 

In the fourth century A.D., the Madras are recorded as having 
paid taxes to Samudragupta. 5 

At a later date, in the early part of the sixth century A.D., 
Sakala became the capital of the Hvma conqueror, Mihirakula. 8 
From the records of the travels of Hsiian Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, 
we read that some centuries before his time there was in the town of 

1 Mbh., I'dyogaparvan. Chaps. .Sand tq; Dronaparvan, Chap. 103; BMsmaparvan, 
Chaps. 51; 105-6; Kaytw par-can, Cliaps. 5-6. 

e Mbh., Vanaparvan, Chaps. 291-8, pp. 509-523, Maharaja of Burdwan's 

3 Cambridge. History of Italia. Ancient India, Vol. I, pp. 549"550- 

* Questions of Kins. Milinda (S.B.E.), Pt. I, p. 6; Rapscm, Ancient India, 
pp. 128-131. 

s Corpus Inscripiimium hid ten mm. Vol. Ill, p. 14; (,upta Inscriptions, Text 
and Translations. 

6 Cambridge History of India, Vol. T, pp. 549-55°- 


Sakala a king named Mo-hi-lo-kiu-lo (Mahirakula), who established his 
authority in that town, and subdued all the neighbouring provinces. 
This king was of a cruel nature, and, becoming enraged by the 
conduct of certain Buddhist priests, ordered his men to destroy all 
the priests 'through the five Indies', to overthrow the law of the 
Buddha and to leave nothing remaining. 

Baladitya, king of Magadha, heard of Mahirakula 's cruel 
persecutions', and, after strongly guarding the frontiers of his kingdom, 
refused to pay tribute to him. Hearing that Mahirakula was 
marching against him, Baladitya fled, followed by his soldiers, to 
the islands of the sea. Mahirakula forthwith left his army in the 
charge of his younger brother, and himself put out to sea to attack 
Baladitya, but was captured by the latter's soldiers. Baladitya, , 
however, took pity on the captured sovereign and released him. 
Finding that his kingdom had meanwhile been usurped by his brother, 
Mahirakula went to Kashmir, where he was received with honour 
by the king, and given some territory over which to rule. After 
some vears he betrayed his trust/killed the king, and placed himself 
on the throne. He 'then plotted against the kingdom of Gandhara, 
killed all the members of the royal family, and the chief minister, 
destroyed all Buddhist topes and temples, and appropriated the 
wealth of the country. However, retribution soon followed, for he 
was dead before the year was out. 1 

It appears that the kingdom of Madra was still intact in the 
ninth century A.D., when we find the Madras as the allies of 
Dharmapala, the monarch of Bengal, who with the help of the 
Madras and other northern powers dethroned Indraraja, king of 
Pancala. 2 

1 Beal, Records of the Western World, Vol. I, pp. 165-172 ; Waiters, On Yuan 
Chwaiig, I, p. 289. 

2 V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 413. 


The Malava tribe played an important role in the history of 
Ancient India. First settled in the Punjab they gradually spread 
themselves over considerable portions of In India and estab- 
lished their settlements in Rajputana, Central India, in di llcrcnt 
localities of the modern United Provinces, m the country known 
in ancient days as Lata-desa (comprising Broach, Cutch, \ adnagar 
and Ahmedabad), and flnallv in modern Malwa. They successfully 
maintained their tribal organisation from the time of Pamni till at 
least as late as the time of Samudragupta (fourth century A.D.). 

The earliest definite mention of the Malavas is made m the 
writings of Alexander's historians who refer to them as Malloi, 
Malli or Mallai, associated with the Oxydrakai, Sudracae, Hydrakal 
or Svdracae. These two tribes have long been identified with the 
MalaVas and Ksudrakas of Sanskrit literature. 1 Pimm does not 
actuallv mention them by name, but his surra V, 3, 117. speaks ot 
certain tribes as ' Sytldhajml sumghas' , or tribes living by the pro- 
fession of arms, and the Kasika savs that amongst these bamghas 
were the Malavas and Ksudrakas. The Malava tribe is actually 
mentioned in the Mahabhasva of Patanjali (IV, 1, 68). a 

In the time of Alexander (and probably also earlier), the Malavas 
were settled in the Punjab, but it is difficult to locate exactly the 
territorv they occupied. Smith thinks that they (the Malloi 
occupied the country below the confluence of the Hydaspes (Jliehim) 
and Akesines (Chenab), that is, the country comprising the Jhaiig 
district and a portion of the Montgomery district.' According to 
McCrindle, they occupied a greater extent of territory, comprising the 
modern doab of the Akesines and Hydraotes (= Chenab and Rayi) 

1 Ind. Ant., Vol. I, p. 23. 

* According to the Jain Bkiwu-ait Stitra, Malava is included in the list ot toe 
sixteen V r 1 tl 1 itii Malava. The Malava country of the Rhagavatt 

is probably identical with Avanti of the A n^uttayn Xikvya (P.HAL, p. 82, 4th Edn ). 
According to Weber, Apisaii '(according to Jayaswal, Katyayana) speaks of the 
formation of the compound — Kvii!d;-:i];a-Milh>;:dk '. Smith points out that the 
Mahabharaia couples the tribes in question as forming part of the Kaurava host m 
the KuruksetTa war. Curtius tells us that the Sudracae and the Malli had an army 
consisting of 90,000 foot-soldiere, cavalry, and 900 war-chariots {iM.. 
pp. T56-7). 

■ J.R.A.S., 1903. P- 631. 


and extending to the confluence of the Indus and Akesines — identical 
with the modern Multan district and portions of Montgomery. 1 
Ray Chaudhuri locates them in the valley of the lower Hydraotes 
(Ravi) on both banks of the river. 2 

While sailing along the Hydaspes, Alexander heard that the 
Malloi and the Oxydrakai had combined together and prepared 
themselves 'to give him hostile reception*. But it is difficult to 
ascertain from the mass of contradictory information of the Greek 
authorities whether the two tribes were able to give the conqueror 
a united opposition. While Curtius tells us. that their combined 
army was led by a Ksudraka hero, Diodorous says that the Syrakusoi 
(Ksudrakas) and Malloi could not agree as to the choice of a leader, 
and consequently did not take the field together. According to 
Arrian as well, the Malloi had agreed to combine with the Oxydrakai 
against Alexander, but the conqueror had advanced so suddenly 
that their design was thwarted, and the two tribes could hardly 
have had the opportunity to unite against the common enemy. 3 
The Malloi were certainly taken by surprise by Alexander's army, 
and suffered a defeat which was, however, not final. More than 
once the brave trihe offered determined opposition from their 
fortified cities which fell one by one to the sword of Alexander and 
his general Perdikas. The men deserted their cities, and preferred to 
make the desert and jungle their home rather than submit to the 
conquering hordes. Alexander then sent two of his generals, 
Peithon and Demetrius, against the largest city of the Malloi. 
But the Malloi had already abandoned that city, and crossed the 
Hydraotes, where they stood to offer further opposition. Eventually, 
however, when they saw that they were in danger of being surrounded 
by the Greek cavalry, they repaired to their capital city nearby, and 
made a last effort to resist the foreign invader. But they could 
not achieve any success. Their city-walls were razed to the ground 
and the citadel captured; but in the course of the heavy fighting 
Alexander himself was seriously wounded. He took revenge on the 
enemy hy ordering all the inhabitants of the city, including women 
and children, to be put to the sword. This city has wrongly been 
assigned by Diodorous and Curtius to the Oxydrakai; * but both 
Arrian and Plutarch definitely state that the city belonged to the 
Malloi and not to the Oxydrakai. Even after this defeat and 
massacre, the Malloi do not seem to have been completely annihilated ; 

1 Invasion of India, App. Note, p. 357. 

2 P.H.A1., 4th Ed., p. 202. 

3 McCrmdle, Invasion of India, p. 236, f.n. 1; 
* Ibtd., App. Note Q., p. 351. 


for Arrian tells us that the leading men from the Malloi and 
Oxydrakai came to Alexander to discuss the terms of a treaty which 
was eventually concluded. 

Indeed, the Malavas seem to have occupied their territory in the 
Punjab for some time afterwards. We have already referred to the 
reference to the tribe in the Mahdbhdsya; and it is not improbable 
that the Mahabharata locates the tribe in the same place when it 
couples them with the Trigarttas, 1 as well as with the SMs and 
Ambasthas. 2 But before long they seem to have migrated south- 
wards and settled somewhere in Rajputana, where the tribes seem to 
have held their ground at the time of Samudragupta. A large 
number of coins found at Nagar, about 45 miles north of Kota, 
have on them the legend ' Malavdndm J ayah' ('victory of the 
Malavas') in characters ranging in General Cunningham's opinion 
from perhaps B.C. 250 to 250 A.D. 'These coins', he says, 'show that 
the Malavas existed as a recognised and important clan, long before 
the time when their tribal constitution which led to the establishment 
of their era, took place \ 3 .Some of these coins, which are very small, 
have on them a legend that has been read as Magaya, Magojaya, 
Majupa, Mayojafia, Mapaya and so forth. 'Some scholars have 
taken these legends as denoting so many names, but the probability 
is that these letters constitute not names so much as abbreviations. 
In fact it was suggested to me long ago by Prof. D. R. Ehandarkar 
that the three letters Ma ga ja which occur, e.g. on coins 82-4 of 
Smith's Catalogue of Coins in the Indian Museum, Vol. I, and which 
had been taken to be the name of a king, look like an abbreviation of 
the legend: ' Malava-ganasya jayah' , which occurs for instance on 
coins Nos. 58-61 . . . What looks like the letter pa in Mapaya may 
be la; and Mapaya might thus stand for Malaya, equal to Malava. 
Mr. Douglas 4 has pointed out that the tribal name is sometimes 
written Malaya instead of Malava. Similarly Ma pa ja may be ex- 
plained as equivalent to Mala jayah, equal to Malava-jayah. Again, 
Ma go ya sa may be equivalent to ' Malavaganasya yasah' . 5 That the 
Malavas had migrated to the Jaipur region of Rajputana from the 
Punjab is supported by the fact that the legend on some of the 
Malava coins found in Rajputana has to be read from right to left as 
in Kharosthi, which was the prevalent script in the Punjab and the 
north-west from very early times. 

1 Dronaparvan, Chap. 10, p. 17. : -■/■ '.:, ? : - 

* C.A.S.R., Vol. VI, 1871-3, pp. 72ff. 

* E., O. Douglas in his paper 'On some Malava Coins', J.P.A.S.B., Vol. XIX, 
N.S., pp. 42ff. 

s A. C. Banerjee, 'The Malavas', A.B.O.R.I., Vol. XIII, Pts. III-IV, 1931-2, 
pp. 2l8ff. 

th£ mai,avas 63 

The Malava occupation of the Nagar area near Jaipur in 
Rajputana is also upheld by the Nasik Cave Inscription of Usavadata, 
the Saka, son-in-law of the Ksatrapa Nahapana. The power of 
Nahapana and his allies seems to have been threatened by the 
Malayas (— Malavas) who had already besieged the Uttamabhadras, 
allies of the Saka king. Nahapana sent Usavadata, and the Malayas 
fled at the very sound of his approach, and were taken prisoner by the 
Uttamabhadras. Usavadata afterwards went to Puskara, six miles 
west of Ajmere. 1 The Scythic invasions and conquests could not, 
however, destroy the tribal organisation of the tribe, for in the 
Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudragupta they are included in 
the list of tribal states of the western and south-western fringe of 
Aryavarta. Among them the most important were the Malavas, 
Arjunayanas, Yaudheyas, and Abhiras, all of whom were settled in 
Rajputana at this time. The Bijayagadh Inscription (J.R.A.S., 
1897, p. 30) definitely locates the Yaudheyas at this time in the 
Bharatpur State of Rajputana. The Abhiras also occupied some 
region in Western Rajputana, the place called Abiria in the Periplus 
of the Erythrean Sea. 

According to the Puranas, the Malavas are associated with the 
Saurastras, Avantis, Abhiras, Suras, and Arbudas, 2 and are des- 
cribed as dwelling along the Pariyatra mountains. Thus it seems 
that thev occupied other territories besides the Punjab or Rajputana. 
After Samudragupta 's time when, as we have seen, the tribe was 
settled in Rajputana, the Malavas seem to have migrated to the 
Mandasor region in the north-west part of Central India, where most 
of the records connected with the successors of Samudragupta have 
been found. This region is certainly to be identified with the 
ancient Mahajanapada of Avanti (mentioned in the Anguttara 
Nikdva), as well as Avanti of the Junagadh Rock inscription of 
Rudradaman, and Malaya (= Malava) of the Jain Bhagavati Sutra 
referred to above whose capital was UjjayinT. Thistract of country 
along with the region round Bhilsa comprises what is now known as 
Malwa (Malava). It is well-known that the years of the Vikrama 
Era in the Gupta epoch were known as Krta; and the Malavas 
were associated with them (cf. Mandasor Inscr. of Naravarman, 
C.LI., Vol. Ill) ; and wherever the Krta years are specified in the 
inscriptions of the Gupta period, the name of the Malavas almost 
invariably occurs. We find the princes of Mandasor using the Era 

1 Ep. Ind., Vol. VIII, p. 44. 

a Bhag XII, I, }fi; Visnu, Bk. II, Chap. Ill; Brahma, Chap. XIX, sloka 17. 
The Ramayana {Risk. Kanda, Canto XLII) locates the tribe in the east; but the 
Bengal recension does not know of them. 


(commencing 58 B.C.) traditionally handed down by the 'Malava- 
gana'. And it is not only in the Mandasor region that inscriptions 
have been found associating the Malavas with the Krta Era ; they 
have also been found among other places at Kamsuvam in the 
Kotah State and Nagari in Udaipur State. 

In the period following that of Skandagupta and his successors 
(i.e. after about 550 A.D.) , the Malavas seem to have migrated further 
to the east so as to cover the region from Bhilsa (Eastern Malwa) to 
Prayag. In the Harsacarita of Bana, Kumaragupta and Madhava- 
gupta, two sons of King Mahasenagupta (of the line of Krsna- 
gupta), who were appointed by Prabhakaravardhana to wait upon 
his sons, Rajyavardhana, and Harsavardhana respectively, are 
referred to as 'Malavarajaputrau'. It follows that Mahasenagupta 
was a king of Malava. He was most probably succeeded by a king 
named Devagupta, who is referred to in the Madhuvan and 
Banskhera inscriptions of Harsavardhana, and who must be identical 
with the ' wicked Malava King ' who cut off Grahavarman Maukhari 
in battle, but was himself defeated by Rajyavardhana. 1 It is 
difficult to identify the Malava Kingdom of Mahasenagupta and 
Devagupta, but it was most probably identical with Piirva-Malava 
which lav between Prayaga and Bhilsa. It could not be the Mo-la-po 
(= Malava) of Hsiian Tsang, for Mo-la-po was then under the 
Maitrakas of Valabhi; nor could it be the Malava country whose 
capital was UjjayinI, for Ujjayinl was at that time ruled by a 
brahmin dynasty, and the Guptas were not brahmins. Moreover, 
according to Vatsyayana, Ujjayinldesa was called Apara-Malava or 
Western Malava; where only Malava, without any prefix, is referred 
to, it should be taken to mean Eastern (Purva) Malava. 2 

Just about this time, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim Hsiian 
Tsang in the course of his Indian travels visited the kingdom of 
' Mo-la-po ' ; its capital was on the south-east of the river Moha 
(= Mahi). Mo-la-po was a country where learning was much prized. 3 
This Mo-la-po must now be identified with Malavaka or Malavaka- 
ahara, referred to in a number of Valabhi grants as included in the 
kingdom of the Maitrakas of Valabhi. The Malavaka-ahara lay 
between Bhrgukaccha or Broach, Cutch, Valabhi, and Vaduagar 
(Smith), and corresponds roughly to the modern districts of Kaira 
and Ahmedabad, together with parts of the Baroda .State and some 
adjoining territories. 4 That the Mo-la-po of Hsiian Tsang cannot be 

1 P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., pp. 514 foil. 

2 Ujjayinidesabhavastu evafiara-Malavya-Malavya iti Pur,:a-Miilava bhava, — 
N. Ray, The Maukharis of Kanoj. Cat. Review, 1928, Feb., p. 210 f.n. 

3 Waiters, On Yuan Chwang, II, p. 242. 

4 Ibid., II, p. 341. 


identified with Malava (i.e. Western Malava) whose capital was 
Ujjavini is also proved by the fact that the pilgrim describes the 
former as being included within the territory of Valabhl The 
diminutive suffix Ka also indicates that it was then known as Lesser 
Malava to distinguish it from Malava proper' (C.A.G.I., Mazumdar s 
Notes p 728). The Malaysia country is also referred to 111 the 
Gurvivali Stitra of Dharmasagaragani, where Sri Devendrasundan 
is represented as having gone from Malavaka to Gurjaratra or 
Guiraf > and it is also mentioned in the Tewar Stone Inscription ot 
the region of Javasimhadeva of the Cedi year 928.' The Malavas 
and their country— evidently meaning the region around TJjjayim 
and Bhilsa i.e. modern Malwa, arc mentioned ill a number ot later 
epigraphic records, e.g. in the Sagartal inscription ot the Gurjara 
Pratiharas, the Paithana Plates of Rastrakiita Govmda III, and a 
host of others. f 

We have seen that the Malavas migrated eastwards as tar as 
Pravaga probably in the second half of the sixth century AD. 
During the rule of the Paras of Bengal and Bihar they seem to have 
migrated still further east; for in the copper-plates of the Pala tangs 
(excepting Dharmapala), reference is made not only to the Kulikas, 
the Khasas and Hurras, but also to the Malavas who seem to have 
migrated to Bengal as mercenary troops. _ 

The name of the tribe survives to this day not only 111 the modern 
province of Malwa (which is a transformation of the word Malava), 
but also in those of two Brahmana castes called Malavls or 
'Malavikas". They are the Brahmanas of Malava proper and the 
adjoining country, but arc not only found in their special habitat, 
but also in Gujrat on the one hand, and Central and United Provinces 
on the other. 3 

1 Weber, Die Sk. Br. Handschriflen der Berliner Bibliothek, II, 290. 

s Ed hid-. Vol. II, PP. 18-9. 

! Sec U, B.O.R.I Vol. XIII, parts III-IV, 19312. p. 22 9 .-IuEf. h,d 
V 220 lie Dandanayaka Ananlapala, a feudatory of Vrkramaditya VI is sard to 
have subdued the Sapta Malava countries up 10 the Hun Jaya ,,,,,-nU as. tins 

,, „.. .,,.* ,| ler e ..vera as mam as seven countries called Malava. loess aerc 

Sally" «S«7» (afilavaka-ahara of V.labM grants) on the Main, governed 
bv°the Mai rakas (2) 1 .0.'. rided l,v a Brahmana family m the time of Hsuau 
\ J' I ) F 1 11 1 1 t t round Pra„a (5) Fa ehp.r 

District' in U.P., (6) Cis-Sutlej districts ot the Punjab, (?) Some Himalayan territory 
(P.H.A.L, 4th Ed., p. 492, f.n. 4). 


The Salvas were an important people of Ancient India, and 
are referred to in Panini's Astddhydyi, in the Epics, and in the 
Puranas. But they do not seem to have been able to maintain their 
integrity until the beginning of the historical period, for they are 
scarcely referred to in inscriptions or in later Sanskrit or Pali 

Perhaps the earliest mention of the Salvas as a tribe is found 
in the Gopatha Brdhmana (i, 2, 9), where they appear in connection 
with the Matsyas. The Matsyas were inhabitants of the region 
identical with the kingdom of King Virata of the Mahdbhdrata, and 
the Matsya capital has been identified with Virat in the Jaipur 
State ; and the Salvas probably occupied the territory now occupied 
by the native state of Alwar. 1 According to the Mahdbhdrata? the 
Salva country was situated near Kuruksetra and was the kingdom 
of the father of Satyavan, husband of Savitri. 3 The capital of the 
Salvas seems to have been Salvapura, 4 which is also called 
Saubhaganagara. King Salva's kingdom or territory was also known 
as Marttikavata or Mrttikavati. 6 Salva is said to have attacked 
Dvaravati, but to have been killed by Krsna. 6 

In the great Kuruksetra war the Salvas along with the Matsyas, 
Kekayas, Ambasthas, Trigarttas, and others, lent their support to 
the army of Duryodhana against the Pandavas, and, along with the 
Ambasthas and Trigarttas, formed a unit of the army led by 
Bhisma. 7 In the Udyogaparvan (54, 18) they are associated with 
the Paficalas, Kekayas, and Surasenas ; and (56, 18) with the Malavas. 
In the Bhismaparvan* the Salvas, Matsyas, Ambasthas, Trigarttas, 
Kekayas, Sauviras, and six other tribal states are said to have 
arrayed themselves by the side of Bhisma. The mighty Salva king 
is said to have been laid low on the battle-field by Bhimasena 

1 Cunningham, An. R.A.S.I., XX, p. 120; Matsya pur 'inn, Chap. 113. 

2 Virataparvan, Chap. I. 3 Vanaparvan, Chap. 282. 
* Mbh., Vanaparvan, Chap. 14. 

5 Pargiter, A.l.H.T.,p. 279. 'Marttikavata must be distinguished from Mrttika- 
vati. Marttikavata evicted before, e.g. according to the story of .<ama Jamadagnva' 
(Mbh., Ill, 116, 11076; VII, 70, 2436)— Ibid., f.n. 7. 

6 Vanaparvan, Chap. 14. 

7 BhUmaparvaii. Chap. 20, 10, 12, 15. 8 Chap. iS, 13-4. 


{Rarnaparvan, Chap. 5, 42). 1 The Salvas are several times referred 
to in the Mahabharata 2 as Danavas and Daityas, i.e. demons, — 
probably because of their fabled enmity to Visnu who is termed 
' Salvari', foe of Salva. 

The Vdyu and Matsyapurfmas locate the Salvas amongst the 
central peoples (i.e. Madhyadesa) ; but the Visnupurdna ' places 
them in the extreme west, along with the Sauviras, Saindhavas, 
Hunas, Sakalas, Madras, etc.; and the Brahmapurdna (Chap. 19, 
16-18) also locates them in the Aparanta or western country. 
In the Bengali recension of the Rdvidvunn (Risk. Randa, XLJII, 23} 
also they are classed among the western nations. 

Commenting on Sdlvdvayava in the sloka ' Sdlvdvayava pratya- 
grathakalakuid&niakddm' (4, 1, 17 3), the Rdsika on Panini's Astddlivdyi 
names Udumbara, Tilakhala, Madrakara, Yugandhara, Bhuhriga, 
and Saradatta as the six avayavas or parts of the Salvajanapada. 
Bhulinga here is probably the same as ' Bolingai ' of Ptolemy. 4 
In the sloka ' na prdcya Bkargddi Y audheyddibhyah' (4, 1, 178), 
the Rdsika includes the Karusas, Kasmiras, and Salvas. The 
Rdsika on another sutra (4, 2, 76) refers to a city of the Salvas named 
Vaidhumagni, built by Vidhumagni; and elsewhere the Rdsika 
includes the Salvas among the Kacchadi-gana, along with the 
Kasmiras (4, 2, 133; 4, 1, 169). 

1 According to Mbh., XII, 234, 8607 and 
certain king of the Sfilvas who gave his kingdoi 

2 III, 14, 633-4; 17. 695. 7It); 885-6. 

3 II, Chap. Ill, sloka 16-8. 
* McCrindle's Ptolemy, p. 163. 


The Usinaras were an ancient, petty tribe dwelling to the north 
of the Kuru country. 1 The Gopatha Brahmana (II, 9) tells us that 
the Usinaras and Vasas (Vatsas) were regarded as northerners. In 
the Rgveda (X, 59, 10) the tribe is alluded to in a passage which 
refers to their queen Usinarani. Panini, the grammarian, _ also 
refers to the Usmara country. 2 The Ailareya Brahmana contains a 
geographical passage (VIII, 14) which assigns the Kurus and Pancalas, 
together with the Vasas and Usinaras, to the Middle Country, the 
later Madhyadesa. In the Kausltaki Upanisad (IV, 1) too, the 
Usinaras are associated with the Kuru-Pancalas and the Vasas. 

Zimmer thinks that the Usinaras earlier lived farther to the 
north-west. This theory is based on the fact that the Anukramanl 
of the Rgveda ascribes one hymn (X, 179) to &vi Ausinara; and 
that the Sivis were known to Alexander the Great's followers as the 
Siboi, living between the Indus and Akesines (Chenab). The 
authors of the Vedic Index 3 do not accept Zimmer's view, and 
observe : '-This is in no way conclusive, as the Sibis, at any rate in 
Epic times, occupied the land to the north of Kuruksetra, and there 
is no reason whatever to show that in the Vedic period, the Usinaras 
were farther west than the Middle Country'. Pargiter, 4 however, 
holds that Usmara and his descendants occupied the Punjab. 
Usmara established separate kingdoms on the eastern border of the 
Punjab, viz. those of the Yatidheyas, Ambasthas, etc., and his 
famous son Sivi Ausinara originated the Sivis in Sivapura and, 
extending his conquests westwards, founded, through his four sons, 
the kingdoms of the Vrsadarbhas, Madras, Kekayas and Suviras, 
thus occupying the whole of the Punjab except the north-west 
corner. 5 According to tradition, King Usmara was descended from 
the Anavas. B He had five wives, Mrga, Krmi, Nava, Darva and 
Drsadvatt, who respectively had five sons, Mrga, Krmi, Nava, 
Siivrata and Sivi. The city of Mrga was Yaudheya; and the 
Harivamia connects the Vaudheyas with Usmara. 7 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 84. 

2 Sutras, II, 4, 20; IV, 2, 118. 3 Vol. I, p. 103. 
* Ancient Imiitiv, Historical Tradition, p. rot). 

s Ibid., p. 264. 6 Ibid-, P- 8 8 - 

7 Pargiter, Markandeya Purana, p. 380. 


The story of Usinara's offering to sacrifice himself for a pigeon, 
and his subsequently being granted a boon by Indra, is one of the 
favourites of Indian mythology, and is too well-known to repeat 
here. 1 In the Sdntiparvan of the Makdbhdrata, 2 we read that 
Narada said to Saiijaya : 'Usinara Sivi was dead. He encircled the 
whole world like a skin'. Elsewhere in the same fiarvan 3 it is stated 
that Usinara became the sole emperor of the world, a patent exaggera- 

In the Snmadbhagayatam we read that a famous king of Usinara 
named Suvajfia was killed in battle.* 

The Buddhist Jatakas refer more than once to King Usinara. 6 
For instance, in one Jataka we read that there once reigned a king 
named Usinara. His people were wicked and followed unrighteous- 
ness. During his reign, the religion of the Buddha began to dis- 
appear. Sakka (Sakra) observed the miserable plight of the people, 
due to the decadence of the religion of the Buddha. He turned the 
god Matali, his charioteer, into the shape of a huge black hound and 
entered the city with him. The people were terrified by the loud 
barking of the hound. Sakka said that it was hungry; but even 
when all the food in the city was given to the hound, it did not stop 
barking. The king said that it must be a goblin, not a hound. 
.Sakka then explained that he had come with the hound to revive 
the religion of the Buddha, and thus to establish the people in the 
virtues of liberality. 8 

A mountain named Usiragiri or Uslraddhaja is referred to m the 
Divyavadana (p. 22) and elsewhere; and Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri 
points out that this may be identical with the UsTuaragiri mentioned 
in the Kathasaritsagara (Ed. Durgaprasad and Kasinath, 3rd Edn., 
p. 5). Usinaragiri is placed near Kanakhala, 7 and Uslraddhaja is 
mentioned in the Vinava Pitaka 8 as forming the northern boundary 
of the Middle Country; accordingly, it is possible that the two are 
identical and associated with the Usinara country. 

1 Mbh. Vanaparvan. Chaps. 130, 131. 

* Chap. 29, 39- 3 Ihid -> 4° : and see 4I ~ 3 " 

* Chap. II, sloka 28, 7th tfkandha, p. 393- 

5 See, e.g. Niini Jataka (Faiisboll), VI, p. 99; and Mahanaradakassapa Jataka, 
ibid., Vol.VI.p. 251. 

* Jataka, (Fausboll), Vol. IV, pp. 181 foil. 

1 Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 55. 
a Vinaya, I, p. 197 (Oldenbergj. 



Vahllka, Valhika and Valhika are variant names of a people 
who lived in the northern division of India from very early times. A 
king of the tribe, Balhika Pratipya, is referred to in the Satafatha , 
Brahmana (XII, 9, 3, 1-3 an ^ T 3)> snd is represented as having 
opposed" the restoration of Dustaritu, king of the Smjayas {Vedic 
Index, II, pp. 470-1). Balhika (or Vahllka) Pratipeya (or Pratipiya), 
son (or descendant) of this Pratipa, as Pargiter points out [A.I.H.T., 
p. 166, f.n. 2), is mentioned in the Mahabhdnit 'a {AMpetrvan, Chap. 
95, verse 44; Udvogaparvan, Chap. 47, verse 6). In the Sabhafarvan 
(Chap. 27, verse~22), mention is made of Valheka, which is evidently 
* another name for Valhika. 

According to the Vayupurana as well as the Kavya Mhnmnsa 
of Rajasekhara, the Valhika country 1 is placed in the northern 
division. In the Bengal recension of the Ramayana (see, e.g. 
Kiskindhya Kanda, 44, verse 13) the Valhikas are associated with 
the people of the north, and sometimes (e.g. ibid., 43, verse 5) with 
those of the west. We may conclude, then, that the Valhika country 
should be identified with some region beyond the Punjab. A 
reference in the V ' dyogaparvan to its having been famous for its 
horses seems to connect the Vahllka country with Kamboja; this, 
together with the difficulty of approach to the country which _ is 
re f erre <i to in the account of Arjuna's digvijaya 2 may perhaps justify 
,1 us in assuming that the tribe had its habitat somewhere in the 
A neighbourhood of Gandhara and Kamboja. That the Vahlikas were 
II settled beyond the Indus is definitely proved by the Meharauli 
Iron Pillar Inscription of Chandra, where the mighty King Chandra 3 
is described as ' one ... by whom having crossed in warfare the seven 
mouths of the Indus the Vahlikas were conquered '. Accordingly, the 
country of the Valhikas may perhaps be identified with the region 
now known as Balkh ; in other words, the Vahlikas should be identified 

1 Also mentioned in Sfchi Puriina, VII, 60, 20. 

2 Sabhaparvan: 

3 Chandra has been identified by some with Gmdravurmiin r.[" the .VJahahati 
Pillar Insert jni-m of also with the king of the same name mentioned 
in the 5usunia Rock Inscription. 


with the ' Baktrioi ' occupying the country near Arachosia in the time 
of the geographer Ptolemy. 1 

The Utiarakanda of the Rdmdyana (Chap, too, verse 3) refers 
to a dynasty of kings who are said to have descended from one 
Kardama or Kardameya. They were related to the Aila race, and 
were associated with Valhi or Valhika over which they seem to have 
held sway. In another chapter of the Utiarakanda (103, verse 21) 
the Vahli or Vahlika country is said to have been situated outside 
the Madhyadesa, which must have extended as far as the Sarasvati 
in the west. A Kardamaka Vamsa or dynasty is referred to in the 
Kanheri Inscription of the minister (amatya) Sateraka. In his 
Political History of Ancient India (4th Edn., p. 423), Dr. H. C. Ray 
Chaudhuri makes the illuminating suggestion that this Kardamaka 
Vamsa probably derived its name from the river Kardama in 
Parasika or Persia. 2 In that case Vahlika, the home of the Kardama 
or Kardamaka kings, should be sought for somewhere in Persia; 
and we have a further justification for identifying the country of the 
Vahhkas with Balkh in Iran. 3 

The Vahlikas or Valhlk as ^um^notb^iA^iii^v^ the 
Vahikas, who seemjo have l ived betwe en"" tue butlei afioTTHFlndus. 
A"~passage in the Karnaparvan (Chap. 44) seems to describe lEeir 
position : 

' Qakalam ndma nagaramdpaga ndma nimnagd 

Jartiika ndma Vdhikastesam Vrttam suninditam' (verse 10). 
' Satadrukam nadim tirttvd tdnca ramydm Irdvatlm ' (verse 17). 
/ This passage states that the Vah ikas were also known as Jarttikas 
(= Jat?) an d Aratta s, 4 and that~their capTxfPwas at Saka faT 5 
moder n Sialko t, wes t of the R avi. Another portion of the same 
passage suggests that in the Aratta countries religion was in dis- 
repute; it was thus an impure region, and the Aryans of Mid-India 
were forbidden to go there. This is also reflected in the Varttikas 
of Panini by Katyayana who derives the word Vahl ka from ' yahj ' 
or ' bahi ' , meaning ' outside ' , —suggesting those who were outside the 
paleof Aryandoni. "According to Panini and his scholiast Patafijali, 
1 Vahlka was another name for the Punjab (IV, 2, 117; V, 3. 1*4* 

1 Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri, P.H.A.I., 4th Edn., p. 449, f.n.; aud Ind. Ant., 
1884, p. 408. 

2 Comra. on Arthaiaslra , II, n: Parasikesit Kcrdituma muna nodi. 

3 For fuller details of the Kardamaka kings and their association with Vahlika, 
see Ray Chaudhuri's paper on 'The Kar&Aamaka kings' in I.H.Q., Vol. IX, No. I, 

* The Arattas were the Arattai of the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, p. 41. 
5 It will be 'remembered that Sakala was King Milinda's capital. 


Ind. Ant., I, 122). That the Vahikas were held in disrepute is also 
proved by verse 41 of the Karnaparvan, which says: 

' Vahisca nama Hikasca Vipasayam Pisdcakau _ * 

Tavorapatyam Vdhlka naisa srstih frajafateh.' 

According to this verse, Vahi and Hika were names of two Pisacas 
(deraonsl of the Vipasa river (Beas). Their descendants, the 
Vahikas, were not (worthy of being called) 'a creation oi Prajapati 
(the Creator). 


The earliest mention of the Trigarttas to which a fairly definite 
date can be assigned is made in the Astadhyayl of Panini, the 
celebrated grammarian, who flourished in the middle of the sixth 
century B.C. at the latest. Besides a direct reference to the tribe or 
countrv of the Trigarttas in a certain Sutra, 1 there are indirect 
references to the tribe in at least two other Sutras, according to the 
scholiast on Panini. In ' na pracya Bhargddi Yaudheyadibhyah' 
(Sutra IV, i, 178) Bhargadi is said to stand for the regions {janafada) 
of the Bhargas, Karusas, Kasmiras, and Salvas, whereas Yaudheyadi 
is "taken to include the country or tribe of the Trigarttas as well as of 
theYaudhevas (see chap, on Yaudheyas). The other reference to 
'Yaudheyadi' is in Sutra, V, 3, "7. which mentions the Yaudheyas 
(and Trigarttas implicitly) as forming an ' Ayudha-jivi Samgka'. 
We may infer, then, that the Trigarttas, like the Yaudheyas, were a 
Ksatriya tribal republic depending mainly on arms. This close 
association of Trigarttas and Yaudheyas probably means that their 
territories were contiguous. 

In the Mahubharata, also, these two tribes are often associated, 
both having rallied on the side of Duryodhana. 2 Two Tngartta 
heroes famous as Samsaptakas (bound by an oath to kill others) 
seem to have played' an important part in the Kuruksetra war. a 
The Trigarttas along with the Salvas, Ambasthas, and other tribes 
were included in the armv of Bhisma. 4 In the course of the war the 
Trigarttas seem to have had a hard fight with Nakula, the fourth 
Pandava. 5 while on another occasion their King Susarma fought a 
stiff 'battle with Arjuna. 6 As a result of the war, the Trigarttas 
along with the Kasmiras, Malavas, Sivis, Yaudheyas, Ambasthas, 
and other tribes were totally defeated, and they all paid homage to 
Yudhisthira. 7 

1 V, 3, 116: Ilamanvndi Tsi'j.wtlasasthadtah. 

2 Sabhaparvan, Canto 52, 14-15; Drnnaparvan, Canto 18 16 _ 

a Udyoeaparuan Canto 57, 18. Before the actual war, five Trigartta brolnei- 
acted as agents of Diiryodhana in harassing the Pandavas while they were living 
hicnonitf in tbe Virata count rv (UdvogapatvaH. Canto 165, 9). 

* Bhipnaparvan, Canto 20, 10, 12, 15; Canto 81, 3; Ca nto 82, 13. 
s Ibid., Canto, 72, 7. 

8 Ibid., 96, T.7; 102, 22; 104, 8. 

* Sabhdparvan, 34, 7-12; 52, 14-15- 



The Trigarttas, as described in the Mahabharata, seem to have 
been a Punjab tribe. This is borne out not only by Hemachandra's 
Abhidhdnacinidmam} which speaks of Trigartta and Jalandhara 
(modern Jullundur) as synonymous, but also by a reference in the 
Rajatarangim (V, 144). which implies that the tribe inhabited a 
region not far from Kashmir. Kpigraphic evidence 2 as well points 
to the fact that modern Jullundur was the ancient Trigartta country. 
In the Puranas, 3 the Trigarttas are reckoned among the mountain 
tribes. Cunningham identifies the Trigartta country with Kangra, 
which is situated in Jullundur between the mountains of Chamba and 
the upper course of the Beas.* 'Trigartta' is interpreted to be the 
land watered by the three rivers,— the Ravi, the Beas, and the 
Sutlej. 3 Itis also explained as the country of the three strongholds, 
and is identified bv some scholars with the modern hill-state of 
Kotoch, which is still called "frigartaka Mulk', or the region of the 
Trigarttas (Prof. Johnson's Selections from the Mahabharata, 
p. 64, f.n. 8).« 

The Trigartta tribe or country (janapada) is also mentioned m 
the Dasakumdracaritam in connection with Mitragupta's travels. 7 

Not very much is known of the authentic political history of 
Trigartta, but it seems certain that from about 700 to 1150 A.D., 
the" country was practically a dependency of one or other of the 
Kashmir dynasties. From the Rajatarangim (V, 130-50), for 
instance, we learn that Karkota Sankaravarman, King of Kashmir 
(c. 883-902 A.D.), set out on a series of expeditions to recover the 
lost possessions of his father Avantivarman. Then Prthvicandra, 
King of Trigartta, who had previously given his son Bhavacandra 
as a hostage, came towards Sankaravarman to do homage; but 
fearing capture, fled far away. Kalhana's description does not 
show that Trigartta was actually conquered, and Stein is probably 
right in assuming that no material success was achieved by 
Sankaravarman in "the hills, east of the Ravi. The Trigartta country 
is said to have acknowledged the supremacy of the King of Kashmir 
during the reign (in Kashmir) of Ananta of the line of Abhinava 
(1028-63 A.D.j. ^_„ 

1 IV, 24— ' Jalandharas-trigarttah syuh' . 2 E-p. Ind., Vol. I, pp. 102, 116. 

' Markan&eya P., 57, 57; Matsya P., IT4, 56. The Brahma pur ana (14, 46) 
refers to a daughter, Jijiiasa by' name, of a certain Trigartta king, who was married 
to bisiravanl. , 

4 Cunningham, A.S.R., V, p. 148; cf. BfhatsamhM, Chap. r4; also Steins 
Rajatarangim, Vol. I, p. 81. 

" Cunningham, A.S.R., V, p. 148. 

fl According to Ntmdolal Dey, North Canara was also called Trigartta in ancient 
times {Goka>!;:i-Bnag-,!i.dta, X, Chap. 79). 

7 B.S.S., p. 108. 


The Yaudheyas were a republican tribe of the Punjab known as 
early as the time of Panini, the celebrated grammarian (c. sixth 
century B.C.), whose .Sutras contain what are probably the earliest 
reference to this people. In ' na pracya Bhargadi Y audheyadibhyah' 
(IV, i, 178) the term Yaudheya-adi includes the two tribes, Yaudheyas 
and Trigarttas (according to Scholiast). Elsewhere in the Sutras 
(V, 3, 117) the Yaudheyas (counting the Trigarttas with them)_are 
referred to as forming an ' Ayudha-pvl Samgha ', or a tribal republican 
organisation depending mainly on arms (cf . the name ' Yaudheya ' = 

The historical tradition of the tribe, however, goes back still 
farther than Panini's time. The Puranas 1 refer to the Yaudheyas 
as having been descended from Uslnara, while the HarivamSa too 
connects the Yaudheyas with the Usmaras. 2 According to Pargiter, 
King Usinara established the Yaudheyas, Ambasthas, Navarastra, 
and the city of Krmila, all on the Eastern border of the Punjab; 
while his famous son Sivi Auslnara originated the Sivis or Sibis in 
Sivapura. 3 In the Mahabharata,* the Yaudheyas are described as 
having been defeated by Arjuna, along with the Malavas and 
Trigarttas; while in the Sabhaparvan (Chap. 52, 14-5), the Yaudheyas, 
together with the Sibis, the Trigarttas, and the Ambasthas, are 
represented as having paid homage to Yudhisthira. Elsewhere in 
the Great Epic [Drowparvan, Chap. 159, 5) the tribe is mentioned 
along with the Madrakas and Malavas. 5 

The Brhaisamhita places the Yaudheyas along with the 
Arjunayanas in the N. division of India. According to Pay 
Chaudhuri, thev may have been connected with the Pandoouoi or 
Pandava tribe mentioned by Ptolemy as settl ed in the Punjab fl ; 

1 Brahmanda Parana, III, Chap. 74; Vayu P., Chap. 99; Brahma P., Chap. 13; 
Matsya P. , Chap. 4S ; Visnu P. , Chap. T7, etc. 

2 Harivamia, Chap. 32; cf. also Pargiter, Mark. P., p. 3§0- 
■ AJ.H.t..p. 264. 

* Dronaparvan, Chap. 18, 16; Karnaparvan, Chap. 5, 48. 

& ' Ymidhexanadrijtut >djan Madrnkth: Malaranapi' . Here ' Adrijun has been 
interpreted b/somc as signifying a tribe, the 'Adrijas' (possibly = the Adraistal 
of the Greeks'!; but it seems more likelv that it is simply an epithet qualifying the 
Yaudheyas ('mountain-born '). There is no mention in Sorensen's Index to the names 
in the Mahabhamta of ' adrija ' used as the name of a tribe. 

Ind. Ant., XIII, 331, 349. 


for Yaudheya appears in the Mahabharata (Adiparvan, Chap. 95, 
76) as the name of a son of Yudhisthira. 1 

Cunningham identifies the Yaudhcyas with the Johiya Rajputs, 
and the country of the Yaudheyas with Johiyabar (= Yaudheya- 
vara), the district around Multan. The Johiyas, he points out, are 
divided into three tribes ; and he finds a strong confirmation of his 
identification in the fact that in the coins of the Yaudheya clan 
there can be traced the existence of three different tribes. These 
coins are of three classes, of which the first bears the simple inscrip- 
tion: 'jaya-Yaudheya-ganasya', i.e. '(money) of the victorious 
Yaudheya tribe'. The second class has 'dvi' at the end of the 
legend, and the third has 'tri', which are taken by Rapson to be 
contractions for 'dvitiyasya' and 'tritiyasya', or second and third, 
as the money of the second and third tribes of the Yaudheyas. As 
the coins are found to the West of the Sutlej, it is almost certain 
that they belong to the Johiyas who now occupy the line of the 
Sutlej. 2 " 

The Yaudhevas are known from the Bijayagadh (Bijegarh?) 
Stone Inscription' 3 (C.I. I., Vol. Ill, pp. 250-1) to have occupied the 
Bijayagadh region of the Bharatptir State, and we may assume that 
thev had extended their rule quite far to the South by about 150 A.D., 
the" date of the Junagarh (Kathiawar) Inscription of Rudradaman, 4 
which contains that monarch's boast of having 'rooted out the 
Yaudheyas'. The tribe was not entirely extinguished, however, for 
in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta (fourth century 
A.D.) the Yaudheyas are included in the list of tribal states who paid 
him homage (Malavas, Arjunayanas, Yaudheyas, Madrakas, Abhiras, 
Prarjunakas, Kakas, and Kharaparikas). 5 

1 Ray Chaudhuri, P.H.A.J., 4th Erin., p. 457. 

a Cunnii]gbiim, Ancient Geography, p. 245; pp. 281-2. Rapson, Indian Coins, 
p. T4. 

3 Paleographically the inscription is of an early date, the characters being of 
the so-called Itk1o-Sc\ fchfc form. The leader of the Yaudheya tribe who is referred 
to in the inscription is stvled Maharaja and Mahiisenapati. 

* Ep. Ind., Vol. VIII, pp. 36ft 

5 Ray Cnandhuri, P.H.A.I., 4th Edn., p. 457. 


The Kekayas were a well-known tribe of Ancient India, and 
played an important part not only in the events recorded in the 
Rdmayana, but also in the great Kuruksetra war of the Mahabharata. 
They were known as early as the Satapatha Brdhmcma and the 
Chandogya Upanisad, and continued for some considerable time to 
be one of the important tribes of the Punjab. The territory of the 
Kekayas, according to the Rdmayana, 1 lay beyond the river Vipasa 
(Beas) and extended up to the borders of the ancient Gandhara 
kingdom. According to the Puranic tradition, 2 the Kekayas were 
descended from the (non-Aryan) Ami tribe or the family known as 
the Anavas, who appear from the Rigveda (8, 74) to have dwelt 
in the same territory of the Punjab as that later occupied by the 
Kekayas (according to the Rdmayana). Rajasekhara in his 
Kdvyamlmdmsd places the Kekaya country in the northern division 
(Uttarapatha) of India, along with the Sakas, Hunas, Kambojas, 
Vahlikas, etc. In the Mahabharata they are associated with the 
Vahlikas, while in the Puranas more emphasis seems to be laid on 
their association with the Madras. 

The earliest known king of the Kekayas was Asvapati. 3 He was 
a theologian who is said to have instructed a number of Brahmanas. 
The name of a Kekaya king several times referred to in the 
Rdmayana i was also Asvapati; but it is difficult to say whether the 
two were identical. King Asvapati of the Rdmayana was the 
father of Kaikeyl, second queen of Dasaratha, and maternal grand- 
father of Bharata {Ayodhydkdnda, Chap. 70). The capital city of 
King Asvapati, according to the Rdmayana, was Rajagrha or 
Girivraja, 5 identified by Cunningham with Jalalpur on the jhelum 
(= Giryak: Cunningham's Arch. Sur. Rep., II). We learn from 

1 II, 68, 19-32; VII, Chaps. 113-4. 

2 Brahmatiia P., Ill, 74; Vayu P., Chap. 99; Brahma P., Chap. 13: Harivamsa 
(Chap. 31); Matsya P., Chap. 48; Visnu P., IV, Chap. 18; Garu4a P., I, Chap. 139; 
and Bkagavata P., IX. Chap. 23. 

s Satapatha Brahmana, X. b, i, 2; Chandogya lip., V, ir, 4 et seq. 

* Adikamla, Cantos XII, LXXIV, LXXXVII; Ayodhyakanda, Cantos II, 

6 Ram., II, 67, 7; II, 68, 22. This Girivraja or Rajagrha is not to be confused 
with the Girivraja or Rajagrha of Magadha {S.B.E., XIII, p. 150). 


Jaina sources that one-half of the Kekaya kingdom was Aryan, and 
the Kekava city was known as Seyaviya. 1 

The Kekayas fought on Duryodhana's side in the Kuruksetra 
war. They seem from the Puranas a to have been intimately related 
to the Usinaras and the &vis, for they were traditionally descended 
from one of the four sons of &vi Uslnara. The latter is said to have 
originated the 6ivis in Sivapura and extending his conquests west- 
wards, to have founded through his four sons the kingdoms of the 
Vrsadarbhas, Madras, Kekayas or Kaikeyas, and Suviras or Sauviras. 8 
In the Visnupurana mention is made of a king of Kekaya or Kaikeya 
named Dhrstaketu (Bk., IV, Chap. XIV). 

A branch of the Kekayas seems in later times to have migrated 
as far south as the Mysore country, where they established a settle- 
ment. They were probably an ancient ruling family of Mysore, and 
were connected by marriage with the Iksvakus, a famous royal 
dynasty, known from inscriptions discovered from the ruins of the 
Jagayyapeta stupa in the Krsna district, 1 as well as from 
Nagar j unikonda. 5 

1 Ind. Ant., 1891, 375. 

2 Vayu P., Chap. 99; Matsya P., Chap, 48; Visnu P., IV, Chap. 18; Agni P., 
Chap. 276, etc. 

8 Pargiter, A.I.H.T., p. 264. See also Chap, on Yaudheyas, for further 
information about Sivi and his father tJsmara. 

* Dubreuil, A.H.D., pp. 88, IOI; see also ArcJiueohgicn! Survey of Soitlk India, 
Vol. I, pp. no-ill. 

5 Ed. Vogel, Ep. Indica, Vols. XX, XXI; Annual Report of South Indian 
Epigraphy, 1926, p. 92; 1927, pp. 71-74. 


The Ablriras as a tribe are well-known in the history of ancient 
India. Probably coming into prominence for the first time during 
the age roughly "covered by the Epics, at a later period they came to 
occupy an independent kingdom, and establish more centres than 
one in the country. The tribe can still be traced in the present 
Ahirs (Ahir being the Prakrit form of the Sanskrit word Abhlra) who, 
in tribal groups, abound largely in the United Provinces, Bihar, 
Nepal and some portions of Rajputana. They are a band of simple, 
sturdv people, mostly cowherds and agriculturists. 

According to the Mahabhdrata (Sabhaparvau Chap. 51), the 
Abhiras were located in the western division of India (Aparantaka). 
The Epic evidence is supported by that of the author of the Penplus 
of the Erythrean Sea, a Greek record of commercial geography of the 
first century B.C., as well as by Ptolemy, the Greek geographer who 
flourished in the middle of the second century A.D. Later epigraphlc 
evidence also definitely places tile Abhiras in the west, but the 
Puranas seem to locate them in the northern division or Uttarapatha. 
'The fact seems to be', says Wilson, 'that the people along the Indus, 
from Surat to the Himalayas, are often regarded as either western or 
northern nations, according to the topographical position of the 
writer'. 1 A more definite location of the tribe is provided by a 
sloka in the Mahabhdrata, which places them in West Rajputana, 
'where the SarasvatI disappears'. 2 

The Mahabhdsya of Patanjali (second century B.C.) is perhaps 
the earliest authority that introduces the Abhiras into Indian 
history At 1, 2, 3 of that work, the Abhiras are associated with the 
Sudras who are most likely identical with the Sodrai or Sogdoi of 
Greek historians of Alexander's time. The tradition of their associa- 
tion with the Sudras » is upheld not only by the above-mentioned 
sloka of the Mahabhdrata (IX, 37, 1), but also by the Puranas The 
Visnupurdna > places them in the extreme west along with the 
Surastras Sudras, Arbudas, Karusas. and Malavas, dwelling along 
the Paripatra mountains. The Mdrkandeya Purdna (Chap. 57, verses 
35, 36) groups the Abhiras with the Vattlikas, Vatadhanas, Sudras, 

1 Wilson, Vim' P'riw. II, roS, f.ti. 4- ' um -' IX ' 37. «i 

3 Some scholars read Sura for Sudra. 

* Yimu P., Ed. Wilson, Bk. II, Chap. Ill, pp. 132-5- 


Madrakas Surastras, and Sindhu-Sauviras, all of whom are said to 
have occupied tracts of country that arc included lnthe Aparantaka 
or western country. According to Pargiter, the Abhiras who are 
referred to in the Mahdbharata had something to do with the events 
following the great Kuruksetra war : ' Some years after the battle, 
the Yadavas of Gujarat were ruined by fratricidal strife, and Krsna 
died. Under Arjuna's leadership they abandoned Dvaraka (on 
which the sea encroached) and Gujarat and retreated northwards, 
but were attacked and broken up by the rude Abhiras of Rajputana'. 1 

Both Ptolemy and the Periplus stress the close association of the 
Abhiras and the Surastras. The Periplus mentions the country of 
Aberia (doubtless identical with Abhira) and its seaboard Syrastrene 
(= Surastra); while Ptolemy speaks of Abiria (= Aberia = Abhira) 
as having been included in Indo-Scythia, by which was meant 
practicaUv the whole of the country along the lower course of the 
Indus. Indo-Scythia in Ptolemy's time was divided into three parts, 
viz. Syrastrene (Surastra), Patalene (= Skt. Patala), and Abiria 
(Skt. Ablilra),— Abiria being identified with the region east of the 
Indus, above the insular portion formed by its bifurcation. 2 

By the middle of the second century B.C. the Abhiras and their 
countrv must have been overpowered by the Bactrian Greeks who, 
not long after the expedition of Antiochus the Great (Antiochus III 
of Syria, 223—187 B.C.), had planned to extend their kingdom to the 
south of the Hindu Kush. It seems that these Bactrian Greeks 
occupied the whole of the country which Ptolemy designates as 
Indo-Scythia, and which included Aberia or Abiria. In Ptolemy's 
time, however, the Abiria or Abhira country was ruled over by the 
Saka rulers or Ksatrapas of \V. India, who seem to have held 
sway over the entire realm of Indo-Scythia (cf. the Junagadh 
Inscription of the Saka ruler Rudradaman who flourished in the 
second century A.D. ; Ep. hid.. Vol. VIII, pp. 36ft.). The Gunda 
Inscription of the Saka king Rudra Sirnha (A.D. 181), who was third 
in succession from Rudradaman, refers to an Abhira general named 
Rudrabhuti who excavated a tank in his realm. Shortly afterwards 3 
we find a certain Isvaradatta, who was probably a native of Abhira, 
holding the office of Mahaksatrapa. It is likely that Isvaradatta 
was the same person as Isvarasena, 4 an Abhira king (son of 

1 AJM.T., p. 284. 

2 See Chap. 011 Surastras, and McCrindle's Ptolemy, pp. 136, 139-40. 

■ 188-90 A.D., according to Prof. Bhandarkar; but Rapson assigns Isvaradatta 
to the period after 236 A.D. 

1 'It is also suggested that this dynasty of Isvarasena h identical with the 
Traikutaka line of Aparanta, and that the establishment of the Traikntaka era in 
A.D. 248 marks the date at which the Abhiras succeeded the Satavahanas in the 


Stvadatta), who became Mahaksatrapa of W. India and wrested 
from the Satavahanas, probably in the third century A.D., portions 
at least of Maharastra, which was ruled over by them up till the reign 
of Yajhasri Satakarni. 

The Abhiras are next mentioned in the celebrated Allahabad 
Iron Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta (2nd quarter of the fourth 
century A.D.) as one of the tribal states of W. and S.W. India 
who paid homage to the great Gupta emperor, and who were thus 
a semi-independent people living outside the borders of his empire. 

If the traditional and legendary history of Nepal as contained 
in the Vamsavahs has any historical value, the Abhiras or Ahirs 
had a settlement in Nepal in very early times. The traditional 
history of Nepal as recorded in the Vamsavahs begins with a long 
line of legendary kings, after which the country was taken possession 
of by a line of Kirata pretenders, whose passing away probably 
marks the entry of Nepal into the domain of fairly precise historical 
tradition. These Kiratas were succeeded by eight princes belonging 
to the Gopala dynasty. The Gopalas in their turn were supplanted 
by the Abhiras. 

The tribe seems to have had another settlement in the South or 
Daksinapatha. According to the Markandeya Purana, 1 the Abhiras 
are 'classed with the Pundrakas, Keralas, Kalihgas, Pnlindas, 
Andhras, Vidarbhas, Kuntalas and others, all of whom are said to be 
Daksinapatha-vasinah, or dwelling in the southern country. The 
Vav'upumna also records the same tradition (Chap. 45, 126), 
and describes the Abhiras, Atabyas, Sabaras, Pulindas, Vaidarbhas 
and Dandakas as' Daksind-patha-vdsinah' . 

government of northern Maharastra and the adjoining region. The last known rulers 
oi the Traiktitaka line were Indradatta, his son, Dharasena and his son, Vyaghrasena 
— Eav Chaiidhmi, P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., p. 418, f-"- 2. 
1' Chap. 57- vv. 45-8; Chap, 58, v. 22. 


The Sibis (or Sivas) seem to have been a very ancient people. 
They were a petty tribe occupying some tract in the Western Punjab, 
whence tliev seem later to have migrated or sent offshoots south- 
westwards to Sind and Rajputana and southwards as far as the Chola 

They are probably alluded to for the first time in the Rgveda 
{VII, 18, 7) where the Sivas, doubtless the same people as the Sibis, 
are grouped together with four other minor tribes, viz. the Almas, 
Pakhtas, Bhalanasas and Visanins, who were all defeated by the 
combined army of King Sudas. 1 But whatever the fate of the other 
four tribes after their defeat, the Sivas seem to have maintained 
their independent existence for some considerable time, for they are 
referred to not only by the Greek geographers and historians of 
Alexander's time, but also by the Scholiast on l-'anini (IV, 2, 109). 
Their King Sivi, son of Usinara, is mentioned in Baudhayana's 
Srauta Sutra (III, 53, 22). There can hardly be any doubt as to the 
identity of the Rgvcdic Sivas with the Sibai or Siboi of the Greeks 2 
who dwelt between the Indus and the Akesines (= Asikni of the 
A; t '. : : v a CIl: i-idrabhaga or Cheriab) in Alexander's time. 

'When the army of Alexander', states Arrian, 'came among the 
Sibai, an Indian tribe, and noticed that they wore skins, they 
declared that the Sibai were descended from those who belonged to 
the expedition of Herakles, and had been left behind; for besides 
being dressed in skins, the Sibai carry a cudgel, and brand on the 
backs of their oxen the representation of a club, wherein the 
Macedonians recognised a memorial of Herakles.' (Arrian, op. cit.) 
He continues: 'If any one believes all this, this must be another 
Herakles, not the Theban, but either the Tynan or the Egyptian, 
or even some great King who belonged to the upper country which 
lies not far from India'. It seems reasonable to suppose, from the 
above description of their dress and weapons, that the tribe belonged 
to a racial group not distinctly Aryan. They are said to have had 
40,000 foot-soldiers at the time of Alexander. 

1 The 'war of the ten kings' is sometimes interpreted as a struggle between the 
Aryans (under Sudas) and the pre-Aryans ; in which case the Sivas or Sibis were 
not Aryans, but probably Sumerians. 

3 Arrian, Tndica, V, 12; Diodoms, XVII, 96. 


All earlier reference to this people is found in the Aitareya 
Brahmana (VIII, 23, 10), where mention is made of Amitratapana, a 
king of the Sivis. A place called Sivapura or 'town of the Sivas' 
is mentioned by the Scholiast on Patiini 1 as situated in the northern 
country Sivapura must be identical with Sibipura, mentioned 111 a 
Shoikot Inscription (Ep. Ini., 192T, p. 16); and Dr. Vogel takes the 
mound of Shorkot to be the site of the city of the Sibis. Another 
scholar points out that local tradition also connects Shorkot with 
Siva » Thus we may conclude that the Sivas or Sibis were a people 
inhabiting the Shorkot region in Jhang in the Punjab, lying between 
the Iravati and the Chandrabhaga, and therefore included 111 the 
northern region or TJttarapatha. 

The Sivas or Sibis seem to have migrated, or rather sent one or 
more of their offshoots southwards to Rajputana. It is difficult to 
say exactly when this movement took place, but early references to a 
geographical location of the tribe other than in the Punjab are found 
in the Jatakas and in the MaMbterala. The Jatakas » mention a 
Sivi king and his country with two of its cities, Aritthapura and 
Jetuttara. Aritthapura (Skt. Aristapura) is probably identical 
with Ptolemy's Aristobothra in the north of the Punjab and may 
perhaps be the same as Dvaravati.' Jetuttara or Jettuttara is 
identified by N. L. Dev with Nagari, a locality 11 miles north of 
Chitore." It is evidently the Jattararur of Alberum, 7 the capital ot 
Mewar That the Sibis had a habitat near Chitore is attested by other 
sources as well; a number of coins inscribed with the legend 
Majkamikaru .S'nv',,;»«/.,n?.isn' have been discovered 111 the territory 
near Nagari- indicating that the janapada or country of the Sibis 
was located in Madhvamika, near Chitore in Rajputana. On the 
testimony of these coins we also learn that the Sibis formed a gana- 
rSstra or some sort of republican state. This seems to have some 
support from the Vessanlara JStaka, where we read that the king 
of the Sibis ' was compelled to banish prince Vessantara m obedience 
to the demand of his people-indicating that if not an absolute 
republic, this community at least had what we may call democratic 

1 See Paiaiijali, IV, 2, 2; Vedie Index, II, pp. ^-2- 

a Mazmndar, C.A.C.I., p. 669; Sivapura = Siaura = Shor. C.A.S.N., \, 

W " fiS'jaalu,, No. 499; Ummid„>Ul Jalahi, No. 527; VessarUam Jilaha, No. 547. 

* N 1/ He 1/ T. p. 11. 

5 Jataaa (Fausboll). VI, p. 421; cf, Dev, p. 187. 

* Geographic! Dic!i<::::ry, p. 81. 

T Alberuni's India. I, p. 202. . 

* 0. sfc wtn:h wa> the Tathagata s name 111 a previous birth, 
referred to in Heal'* Raandi. 0/ Iks Weslcnt Warld, I, pp. xvi-cvii, 125. 


The Sivas or Sibis were intimately associated with the Usinaras, 
who are assigned by the Aitareya Brahmana to the Madhyadesa 
or 'Middle Country', together with the Kurus, the Pancalas, and the 
Vasas or Vatsas. The Anukramani of the Rgvecla ascribes one 
hymn (X, 119) to Sivi Ausinara, i.e. the Sivi who is descended from 
Usinara ; while the Mahabharata refers not only to a king Usinara 
Sibi (Mbh., Santiparvan, Chap. 29, 39) but also to a Sibi-rastra or 
kingdom of the Sibis ruled by King Usinara (III, 130-1). It 
is, therefore, likely that the Usinara country was at one time the 
habitat of the Sibis. According to the tradition as recorded in the 
Kpics and Puranas, Sivi was one of the five sons of King Usinara, 
each of whom founded a city. The city of Sivi was known _ as 
Sivapura. Sivi had four sons who came to be known as Sivis, giving 
their name to the tribe to which they belonged. According to 
Pargiter, Sivi Ausmara not only originated the Sivis in Sivapura 
but, extending his conquests westwards, founded through his four 
sons (Vrsadarbha, Suvlra, Kekaya, and Madraka) the kingdoms of the 
Vrsadarbhas, Suviras (or Sauviras), Kekayas, and Madras, thus 
occupying the whole of the Punjab except the north-western corner. 1 

King Sivi Ausmara bears a legendary name for piety and 
humanity. The well-known and very popular fable of the hawk and 
the pigeon immortalises this king's spirit of self-sacrifice. 2 

In the Mahabharata description of the tribes, kings, and princes, 
who were ranged on Duryodhana's side in the Kuruksetra war, the 
Sivis are grouped with the foreign tribes, Sakas, Kiratas, Yavanas 
and Vasatis. As the Yavanas and Sakas did not appear in Indian 
history before the fifth and second centuries B.C. respectively, the 
passage in which the mention of these tribes occurs, must be regarded 
as a later interpolation ; but however that may be, the fact that the 
Sivis are grouped with the 'foreigners' is significant, and it is not 
unlikely that the tradition has a historical foundation. 

Still later, the Sivis seem to have migrated to the extreme south 
of India. The Dasakumaracaritam {Madhya, Chap. VI) refers to a 
settlement of the Sivis on the banks of the Kaveri. The southern 

1 See Chap, on Uslnaras; and Pargiter, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition. 
pp. 41 and 264. 

2 Mbh., Ill, Cliap. rg6; Chap. 207;, XIII, Chap. 67; XIV, Chap. go. In the 
Dronupttrvan version (Chaps. 130-131) Sivi's father, Usinara, is the hero of the 
fable. Both Fa-Hien and Hsiian Tsang place the scene of the story in Udyana now 
called the Swat Valley where a steatite relief (now in the British Museum) representing 
the fable as given in the Mbh. has been discovered. It is, therefore, probable that 
the present Swat Vallev represents the ancient kingdom of Sivi. But according to 
the MaKl-Ummaga Jaiaka the Sivi country- was situated between the kingdoms of 
Videha and Pahcala (Dey, Geographical Diciy., pp. 187-8). 

Sivis, according to Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri, 1 are probably to be 
identified with the Chola ruling family. 2 The Sivi country of the 
south may be identical with the Sivika country' which is placed 
among the southern countries by Varaharnihira in his Brhatsumhita 
{Chap. XIV, verse .12). 

1 Poli Hail Historv of Ancient India, 4tli V.A., ]>. 205, f.n. 5. 

2 Keilhorn, List of Southern Inscriptions, No. (.85.' 


The Daradas were a tribe of N.W. India J well-known both 
to indigenous and to foreign traditions. They are referred to in the 
Mahabharala as having joined the Kaurava forces and as having 
been defeated by Vasudeva, along with the Khasas, Sakas, Yavanas, 
Trigarttas, Malavas and others. 1 The Visnupurana associates 
them with the Abhiras and Kasmiras a ; while in the Matsyapurana s 
the country of the Daradas is linked with Gandhara, Sivapura, 
Urja, Aurasa and other districts forming the basin of the Sindhu 
{= Indus). The Epic and Puranic traditions seem therefore to 
locate the Daradas in the north-west along the north-west frontier of 
Kashmir, and contiguously with the realm of the Khasas in the upper 
Punjab. They were probably a mountainous tribe, for 'mountain 
is the commonest meaning of the word darad from which they 
appear to have derived their name'. 

The Greek writers knew this people by various names. Strabo 
mentions them as Derdai, Pliny as Dardae; while in Dionys. Perieg. 
{V, 1138) their name is given as Dardanoi. Ptolemy refers to the 
same people as Daradrai, the additional r evidently being inserted 
by mistake. He locates them east of the Lambatai (= Lampak 
or Lamghan) and of Sonestane (= basin of the Swat river), and to 
the north of the uppermost course of the Indus. The mountains in 
the country of the Daradas, he says, are of surpassing height. 

The Daradas were an important factor in the history of Kashmir, 
and are often referred to in the Rajatarangini. 

The country once inhabited by the Daradas still retains clear 
traces of the ancient name, being known as Dardistan, the district 
of the Dardo. 

1 Dronaparvan, Chap. 10, 18. 

2 Wilson's Ed., II, p. 184. 
s CXXr, 45-51. 



The Karusas or Karusas were a well-known tribe of ancient 
India, who are often referred to in the Epics, particularly in the 
Mahabhdrata and the Puranas. Throughout the whole range of 
early and later Vedic literature they are scarcely mentioned, and 
their sudden emergence in the period of the Epics and Puranas 
suggests that they had been an insignificant tribe inhabiting a 
region included in or continuous with the janapada of the Cedis, 
with whom they are constantly associated in the Mahabhdrata. 1 
The Padmapurdna (IV, Chap. 274, 16-17) moreover, tells us that 
Dantavakra, King of Karusa, was of Caidya lineage. The evidence 
as recorded in the Mahabhdrata and the Puranas seems to point to 
the fact that Dantavakra and his father Vrddhasarman had been 
reigning in the time of the Pandavas. 2 According to the Visnupurdna 
(Bk., IV, Chap. XIV) Vrddhasarman married Srutadevi, who bore 
him the fierce Asura Dantavakra. The Vdyupurdna, however, 
does not call him an Asura, but King of the Karusas. According to 
the Padmapurdna (Pdtala, Chap. 35) Dantavakra was killed by 
Krsna in Mathura (vide also N. L- Dey, G.D.A.M.I., p. 2). King 
Dantavakra is said to have had a foster-daughter named Prtha, who 
was married to Pandu. 3 Their contemporaries in the contiguous 
territories were Damaghosa, his son Sisupala Sunitha, and grandson 
Dhrstaketu, kings of Cedi; and Virata, king of Matsya. 4 The 
Karusa royal family was connected by marriage not only with that 
of the Cedis but also with those of the Yadavas (i.e. Vasudeva, 
Krsna and all his relations, and the Pauravas). 6 

We must turn to the Puranas for the legendary account of the 
origin of the Karusas. All the Puranas agree in saying that 
Vaivasvata Manu had nine sons": namely Iksvaku, Nabhaga 

1 BliUmaparvan, Chap. 47, 4; Chap. 54, 8; Chap. 56, 9; Dronaparvan, Chap. 
8, 28; Chap. 20, 2.1; Knrtjaparran, Chap. 5(1, 2, etc. 

2 Mbh., II, Chap. 13, 575, 577; Vayu Parana, Chap. 96, 255; Visnii P., IV, 
Chap. 14, n; Brahmandtt P., Ill, Chap. 71, 156, etc. 

3 Brahma P., Chap. 14, 122. 
* Pargiter: A.I .H.T.,y. IT9. 

s Ibid., 166-7, f-n- T ; V< l y'< Parana, Chap. 96, 148-159; Ma^ P., Chap. 46, 3-9; 
Visnu P., IV, Chap. 14, 10-13, etc. 

"■ According to the Mahabharala, I, Chap. 75, Manu had fifty other sons, ail of 
whom perished through mutual dissensions. 


(= Nabhaga or Nrga), Dhrsta, Saryati, Narisyanta, Pramsu, Nabha- 
nedistha, Karusa,' and Prsadhra. 1 From Karusa were descended 
the numerous Ksatriya clans of the Karusas. They were all deter- 
mined fighters, and are said to have protected N. India, — perhaps 
from southern inroads as Pargiter suggests (A.I.H.T., p. 255 
and f.n. 14). 2 

The Karusas had different settlements at different periods; the 
location of the principal ones niay be described as follows: — 

I. (A) In the Mahabharata they are often mentioned along 
with the Matsyas, Kasis, Cedis, and Pancalas [Bhismaparvan, 
Chap. 47, 4; Chap. 56, 13; Chap. 54, 8; Dronaparvan, Chap. 8, 28; 
Chap. 20, 23, etc.). The Visnupurdna mentions them together 
with the Matsyas, Cedis, and Ehojas {Wilson, II, pp. 156-90). 
Pargiter therefore suggests that the country of the Karusas lay 
to the south of Kasi and Vatsa, between Cedi on the west and 
Magadha on the east enclosing the Kaimur hills, — i.e. it was equi- 
valent to the country of Rewa, from the Ken river in the west to 
the confines of Bihar in the east. 3 

(B) The Balakanda (XXVII, 18-23) of the Ram-ay ana would 
seem to indicate a slight difference of locality; it seems to locate the 
tribe in the district now known as Shahabad (Bihar), — whence 
they probably migrated south-west to the region indicated by the 
Mahabharata. According to tradition, the southern district of 
Shahabad between the river Son and Karmanasa was called Karukh- 
desa or Karashadesa.* This tradition is supported by a modern 
local inscription found at Masar in the Shahabad district, designating 
the territory as Karusadesa. 6 Moreover, Vedagarbhapuri or modern 
Buxar is referred to in the Brahmandapurdna (Purvakhanda, 
Chap. 5) as being situated in Karflsa. 

II. The Karusas probably had another settlement in the 
territory known in ancient times as Pundra, or Pundravardhana, 
roughly identical with N. Bengal ; for according to the Bhdgavata- 
purdna (X, Chap. 66) Karusa seems to have been another name for 

III. In the Vayu (Chap. 45), Matsya (Chap. 114, 54), and 
Markandeya (Chap. 57, 53-5) Puranas, the Karusas are said to have 
occupied the ridge of the Vindhyas {Vindhaprstha-nivasinah). In the 

1 Vayu P., Chap. 85,3-4; Brahma P., Chap. 7,' 1-2; Siva P., VIII, Chap. 60, r-2; 
Kurmri P., I, Chap. 20, 4-6, etc. 

2 For references to Kariisas, see Vayu P., Chap. 86, 2-3; Garuda P., Chap. 142, 
4; Visnu P., IV, Chap. I, r4; Siva P., VII, Chap. 60, 3T; BhagavataP., XX, 2, 16. 

» J.A.S.B., 1895, p. 255; J. R.A.S., itjii, p. 271 \Panim, IV, 1, 178. 

* Martin's Eastern India, Vol. I, p. 405 ; cf . Dey, Geographical Dictionary, p. 0.5. 

5 Cunningham, A.S.R., III, pp. 67-71. 


Markandeya Parana, they are mentioned along with the Keralas and 
Utkalas, and in the Brahmandafurana with the Malavas, Utkalas, 
and Dasarnas (all dwelhng in the Vindhya region) ; while in the 
Visnupurana (Bk. II, Chap. Ill) they are associated with the Arbudas 
andMalavas. Further, the Visnufiurana definitely refers to them as 
dwelling along the Paripatra' bills. In the Bdlakanda of the 
Ramayana (XXIV, 18) the Karusas and the Maladas are named 
together; the Maladas are probably the Molindae of Pliny, whereas 
the Karusas may be identified with the Chrysei. 1 

The 'Karusas figure in the Kuraksetra war along with the 
Kekayas, Pancalas, Matsyas, Cedis and Kosalas, who rallied on the 
side of the Pandavas. 2 At one time during the war, the Cedi, KasI, 
and Kariisa peoples seem to have been led by Dhrstaketu, King of the 
Cedis. 3 Another King of the Cedis was Vasu, a descendant of Kuru, 
who having conquered the Yadava kingdom of Cedi, extended his 
conquests eastwards as far as Magadha, and apparently north-west 
also, over Matsya. He divided his territories of Magadha, Cedi, 
KausambI, Kariisa, and Matsya among his five sons (see Chap, on 

1 M. V. St. Martin's Etude sur la Geog. Grccqm, p. 199. 

* See [jdv'igti, Iihisma and Drona Parvuns. 

3 Vdyogafiarvan, Chap. 198, 2; Bhismapanmn , Chap. 56, 13. 


The Kurmanivesa section of the Mdrkandeya Purana (LVII, 49) 
mentions a tribe called Kulatas, and another named Kurutas (I.VII, 
51). Both seem to be results of a confusion with the well-known 
tribe or people known in history as the Kulutas. The Kamaparvan 
of the Mahdbharata refers to the latter which seems to be identical 
with the Koluta or Koliika of the Kiskimlhya Km id a of the Ramayana 
(XLIII, and annotations). Pargiter {Mark., p. 382, note) long ago 
identified the laud of the Kulutas with the modern Kulu near the 
source of the Beas which is upheld by a reference to them in later 
literature of more reliable historical import. 

The Kulutas seem to have been a tribal republic. Inscriptions 
and coins testify to the existence of many such republics even in the 
days of Scythian invasions, among whom the Malavas, Yaudheyas 
and Arjunayanas were the most important, the Audumbaras 
Kulutas, Kunindas and the Uttamabhadras being only second in 
rank '{Camh. Hist, of India, Vol. I, pp. 528-9). 

Yuan Chwang, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim, refers to a 
country named Ku-lu-to {Watters, I, p. 298) which place he 
reached from Jalandhara after having travelled north-east, across 
mountains and ravines, by hazardous paths, for above 700 li. The 
region, says he, was entirely surrounded by mountains. Its capital 
was 14 or 15 U in circuit. It had a rich soil and yielded regular 
crops, and it had a rich vegetation. The climate grew gradually 
cold and there was little snow. There were in the country twenty 
Buddhist monasteries with above 1,000 brethren of whom the most 
were Mahayanists, a few adhering to the HInayana school. Of Deva 
temples, there were fifteen, and the professed non-Buddhists lived 
pell-mell. Cunningham long ago identified this Kiu-lu-to country of 
Yuan Chwang ' with the position of the Kullu district in the Upper 
valley of Byas river'. The position is roughly identical with the 
modern Kangra district. 

Another important reference to the Kuliita people is also 
found in the introduction of Balabharata or Pracandaftdndava of 
Rajasekhara wherein the poet describes the victories of Mahipala 
of the Pratihara dynasty. Mahipala is there credited with having 
defeated the Kulutas along with the Muralas, Mekalas, Kalingas, 
Keralas, Kuntalas and the Ramathas (Nirnayasagar Press Ed. of 
Balabharata, I, 7-8). 



The Kulindas were a small N. Indian tribe, sometimes 
confounded with the Pulindas. They are mentioned in the 
Mahabhdrata l along with the Paisacas, Ambasthas and Barbaras, 
who are all described as mountainous people. McCrindle informs us 
that in another passage of the Mahabhdrata they are mentioned in a 
long list of tribes ' dwelling between Meru and Mandara and upon the 
Sailoda river, under the shadow of the Bambu forests, whose kings 
presented lumps of ant-gold at the solemnity of the inauguration of 
Vudhisthira as universal emperor'. 2 

The country of the Kulindas is referred to by Ptolemy as 
Kulindrine. Pie locates it near the mountainous region where the 
Vipasa, Satadru, Yamuna and Gafiga have their sources. 
Cunningham identifies Kulindrine with the kingdom of Jalandhara 
(Jullnndur), 3 but this is not accepted by Saint-Martin. A territory 
of the name of Kuluta, which was formed by the upper part of the 
Vipasa basin, and which may be included in Ptolemy's Kulindrine, 
is mentioned in a Vardha Samhttd list. It was visited by the Chinese 
pilgrim Hsiian Tsang, who calls it K'in-lu-to. The name still 
exists under the slightly modified form of Koluta.* 

The Kulindas were probably identical with the Kunindas, a tribe 
known from coins, 5 and located in the W. Punjab along with 
the Malavas, Yaudheyas, Arjunayanas, Udumbaras, Kulutas and 

] Dronaparvan, Chap. 119, 14. 2 McCrindle 's Ptotemy, p. no. 

3 C. A.G.I. , p. 157. 4 McCrindle, Ptolemy, p. no. 

6 Cambridge History of Ancient India, T, pp. 528-9. 


The Barbaras a 'barbarian' tribe, are associated in the 
Makabharala ' with the Ambasthas, Paisaeas, Kulindas, etc., and 
also with the Yaunas, Kambojas, Gandharas and Kiratas, 111 a passage 
which definitely states that these tribes were located in the 
Uttarapatha or northern country.* The Matsyapurana assocrates 
them with the Tusaras, Pahlavas, Paradas, Sakas, Urjas, Aurasas 
and other tribes whose countries are said to have been watered by 
the Caksu stream of the Ganges before it entered the sea (CXXI, 
45-51) 'The Markandeya Parana (LVII, 39) P laces them m thc 
Sindhu country, and the Brhatsarnhita refers to them as a north or 
north-west tribe. 

The commentary on Kautilya's Arthasastra lias some interesting 
remarks on the Barbara country, and its river Srotasi, which was a 
source of pearls. Alakanda, a city famous for its pearls, stood on 
this river. There was also a lake named Srighanta in a corner of the 
sea of Barbara." S. N. Mazumdar sees in Alakanda a remnant of 
Alexander's name, and he identifies the city with Alexander's 
Haven 4 V. A. Smith {Early History of India, p. no, 4th Ed.) 
points out that the large lake at the mouth of the river where 
Alexander's Haven stood (near Karachi) still exists. This lake 
may be identified with the lake Srighanta mentioned m the Artha- 
saslra commentary. 

Mazumdar remarks B that Barbara is mentioned in an Ayurvedic 
work called Rajtmighantu ; and Barbarika, evidently a city of the 
Barbaras in another Ayurvedic work, Dhanvanlarlyamghimtu, 
This Barbarika (the Barbarei of Ptolemy") is evidently the 
Barbaricum or Barbaricon emporium mentioned in the Periplus of 
the Erythraean Sea (prob. circa 80 A.D.). It was at that time a 
market town and port, was situated on the middle mouth of the 
Indus, and included in the &ka country whose metropolis was 
Minnagar. Barbarika and Patala (the latter identified by V. A. 
Smith' with Bahmanabad) formed the two towns of the islands 
of the Indus delta. 

1 Sabltdparvan, Chap. 31, 199, etc.; Dnyiaparvan , Chap, ny, 14. 

* Mbh., XII, 207, 43. •Ui!<trJp.!lh«-;) i i>;}v.;HLih kntayK-,ydmi tan api Yauna 

Kambuja Ijundk^dk Kodld Barh.iraih saha.' 
a Arthaidstra, Eng. Trsl., p. 86, f.n. 7, 8; p. 90, etc. 

* C.A.G.I., pp. 692-4. 5 thd., pp. 694-5. 
6 McCrindle's Ptolemy, p. 148. 

? Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. T07. 


The Murundas were probably a foreign tribe. They are men- 
tioned for the first time by Ptolemy (second century A.D.), under 
the name Moroundai. Ptolemy's description would place them on 
the western border of the ' Gangaridai ' . They seem to have occupied 
an extensive territory, probably the whole of N. Bihar on the east 
of the Ganges, as far as the head of the delta. They had six important 
cities, all to the east of the Ganges: Eoraita, Koryagaza, Kondota, 
Kelydna, Aganagora and Talarga. These places are difficult to 
identify, but to Saint-Martin Kelydna appeared to have some 
relation with the KalinadI or Kalindi river, and Aganagora with 
Aghadip (Agradvipa) on the eastern bank of the Ganges, a little 
below Katwa (Ptolemy's Ancient India by McCrindle, pp. 215-6). 
According to Cunningham, the name of the Marundai is still preserved 
in the country of the Mundas, a hill-tribe scattered over Chota- 
Nagpur and Central India. ' He says: "The name of Munda is found 
in the Visnufiurana as the appellation of a dynasty of eleven princes 
who succeeded the Tusharas or Tokhari. In the Vayupurana, 
however, the name is omitted, and we have only Marunda' 1 
{= Murunda, the Sanskrit name for Ptolemy's Marundai). 
Cunningham also suggests that the Moroundai of Ptolemy are 
identical with the Moredes of Pliny who are mentioned in conjunction 
with the Surari or Savaras. It may, however, be mentioned that the 
Marundas are referred to in the Vayupurana as one of the Mleccha 

Ptoleniv also speaks of. a city called Morounda as an inland 
town of the Aioi. The country of the Aioi was probably some 
region south of the Kerala country, but the city Morounda has not 
been identified. It is probable, however, that it was a city of the 
Maroundai = Murundas; and in that case the Moroundai had 
another settlement in the farthest south. 

The Abhidhatiacintamani of Hemacandra (IV, 26) z identifies 
the Murundas with the Lampakas, the Lambatai of Ptolemy. The 
latter were located near the source of the modern Kabul river in the 
region around Laghman, and it, therefore, follows that the Murundas 
had a settlement in this region as well. ^ ^^^^^ 

1 Cunningham, Ancient Geography of India, Mazumdar's Ed., pp. 581-2. 

2 Lampakashi Marwidak syuh. 



Among the foreign potentates who came of their own accord to 
offer allegiance to Samudragupta (fourth century A.D.) were _ the 
' Saka-Murundas ' » ; while a ' Murunda-Svamini ' is mentioned in a 
Central Indian inscription of the sixth century A.D. 

i According to Dr. Sten Konow, 'murunda' is the later form of a &aka word 
meaning 'lord' or 'master'. The term ' ' Saka-Mitrundas' possibly stands, therefore, 
for those Saka lords or chieftains who were ruling in the regions of Snrastra and 
Ujjain at the time of Samudragupta. (Cf. Allahabad Pillar Inscription of 


The Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta (fourth 
century A.D.) (i, 22) refers_to a host of tribes— Malavas, Arjunayanas, 
Yaudheyas, Madrakas, Abhiras, Prarjunas, Sanakanikas, Kakas, 
Kharaparikas, and others — that obeyed the imperial commands and 
paid all kinds of taxes. Research has ascertained that all these 
tribal states were located along the north-western, western and 
south-western fringes of the N. Indian kingdom of Samudragupta. 
The Malavas, Yaudheyas, Madrakas and Abhiras are more or less 
wellknowu, but very little is known about the other tribes. 

The names of the two tribes, Arjunayanas and Prarjunas, 
apparently have some connection with the name of the Epic hero, 
Arjuna, though this is not certain._ The Allahabad Pillar Inscription, 
as we have seen, connects the Arjunayanas with the Yaudheyas, 
which is significant, inasmuch as the Adiparvan (95, 76) of the 
Uiihnhharata gives the name of one of Yudhisthira's sons as 
Yaudheya; so that the connection of the Yaudheyas and 
Arjunayanas appears to be warranted by the Epic. 

The author of the Brhatsamhita also connects these two tribes, 
and locates them both 'in the northern division of India. Ray 
Chaudhuri 1 locates the Yaudheyas in the Bharatpur State of 
Rajput ana ; and the Arjunayanas may have occupied a contiguous 
position. The Arjunayanas are also known from coins, which do not, 
however, give any clue to their geographical location. 

Vincent Smith 3 places the Prarjunas in the Narasimhapur 
district of the Central Provinces, but a more plausible location is 
Narasimhagarh in Central India, 3 inasmuch as three other tribes 
which are coupled with the Prarjunas, the Sanakanikas, Kakas and 
Kharaparikas, seem to have occupied regions more or less within 
the bounds of Central India. 

1 Political History of Anciad India, 4th lid., p. 458. 

a J.R.A.S., 1897, p. 892. 3 I-H.Q., Vol. I, p. 258. 


The Ambasthas ' as a tribe existed at least as early as the time 
of the Aitareva Rrakmana, when they were probably settled m the 
Punjab; and they can be traced up to the present day in parts ot 
Bengal and Bihar, whither they migrated in later times. In tie 
Ma-ma Bmkmana (VIII, 21-3), King Ambasthya ( = of Ambastha ) 
is mentioned as having been consecrated with the Amelia Mahablnseka 
along with nine other kings. The M.Mblmmta* mentions the 
Ambasthas along with the Sivis, Ksudrakas, Malavas and other 
north-western tribes. In the BMsma (Chap. 20, 10) and Dmna 
(Chap 119 14) Ptirvans, the Ambasthas are referred to as haying 
taken part in the Kuruksctra war, on the side of the Kurus ; while in 
the Kanuitarvan ,' Srntavuh, the valiant Ksatriya, who was killed by 
Ariuna is described as a king of the Ambasthas. The Ambasthas 
were also once defeated by Nakula, the fourth Pandava, along with 
the Sivis, Trigarttas and Malavas <; and Srutayuh was among those 
who did homage to Yudhisthira after the defeat. 5 

In the Puranas, the Ambasthas are represented as Anava 
Ksatriyas, and are said to have originated from Suvrata, son ot 
Usinara ; they were thus intimately related to the Yaudheyas and the 
Sivis « and were settled on the eastern border of the Punjab. the 
country is mentioned in the Barhaspatya Arthasastra,* where it is 
associated with Sind {KSsmTra-Hilna-Ambastlia-SuMavah) ; while the 
tribe is included in the list derived by Colonel Wilford » from the 
Vumha Samhita. *„■„,*, 

The Puranas seem to represent the Ambasthas as Ksatriyas, 
descended as they were from Usinara; and, as we have seen, the 
Mahabhimta refers to their King Srutayuh as ' the best of Ksatnyas 
But the evidence of Smrti literature seems to point to their mixecl 
origin According to the Gaulama-Dharmasutra (IV, 16), children 
born of waves of" the next, second or third lower castes become 

1 According to Goldsthcker, the older denomination of the tribe was probably 

\mli:Lstlia not Ambastha. „ „ „ 

' il « 14-K ' ■ cha I>. 5. 18- 

. SMjJJ,, Chap. 33, 7- ' IbU - Cta P- 5*' I4 " 13 - 

* ?,"?*"' A r°" Indi °" """" c "' ™° n - P- I0 s 9 Ed r w Ttomaa , p. « 
7 Ibid., p. 264. n -"- • ■ c 

o Asiatic Researches, Vol. VIII, pp. 344. 34 6 - 


Sabamas, Ambasthas, Ugras, Nisadhas, Dausyantas or Parasaras. 
The Ambasthas ' would thus be descendants of Brahmanas by 
Ksatriva Vaisya or Sudra wives. In the Ambattha Sulta, 1 an 
Ambattha (= Ambastha) is called a Brahmarm; but, according to 
the Tatakas* the Ambasthas were farmers, while Manu describes 
them as a people who practised the art of healing.' S. N. Maznmdar 
thinks ' that ' they were a tribe of Brahma Ksatriyas (i.e. Brahmins 
by descent but warriors by profession) ; while Ray Chaudhur. » is of 
the opinion that they were a ' tribe who were at first mainly a fighting 
race but some of whom took to other occupations, viz. those ot 
priests, farmers, and, according to the Smrti writers, physicians . 

The Ambasthas are the same as the Abastanoi (Aman) 
Sambastai (Diodoros), Sabarcae (Curtius) or Sabagrae (Orosms) of 
Alexander's historians." In Alexander's tune the tribe was settled 
on the lower Akesines (Asikni), and had a democratic government, 
and an army consisting of 60,000 foot, 60,000 cavalry and 500 
chariots • The Ambasthas are referred to by Ptolemy as Ambastai a 
tribe which is described as settled in the east of the country of the 
Paropanisadai,— Paropanisadai being 'a collective name for the 
tribes that were located along the southern and eastern sides of the 
Hindukush'.' Lassen » thinks that the Ambastai may have been 
connected in some way with the Ambastai, another tribe mentioned 
bv Ptolemy as dwelling ' along the country of the Bettigol' and the 
mountain "range of the same name (i.e. southern portion ot the 
Western Ghats). . 

The Ambasthas seem to have migrated 111 later times to some 
place near the Mekala hill which is the source of the Narmada (see 
Mekala chapter). In the Kurmavibhaga of the BrhatsatnMa 
(XIV 7) they are associated with the Mekalas who dwelt on the 
Mek'da hill ■ and the mention of Mekhalamusta (which is m all 
probability 'a misreading for Mekalambastha) in the Uarkatiieya 
Parana (LVIII, 14) would seem to prove that the two were neighbour- 
ing tribes The tribe seems to have migrated eastwards as well, 
however for even today a class of Kayasthas known as Ambastha 
Kayasthas can be traced in Bihar; while the Valdyas of Bengal 
claim to be designated as Ambasthas. 10 

Dlzha I p 88- Dialogues of the Buddha, I, p. 109. ' Jataka. IV, No. 363. 

C -4- C f J -' . . ' P '. ' r ,, J,.. „„ ™« 7 JMd n. 2*2. 

6 McCrindle's Invasion of Alexander, pp. 2921T. 7 Ibid-. P- 252. 

B McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, Majumdar s Ed., pp. JJX-X2 
* Indis 
10 They 

- ' J 
Indische Alkrthuv,>iiU<yy- 150, i f >i- , ,. 

They are described as such in Bharata Malik's commentary on the 


The Nisadas are referred to for the first time in the later Samhttas 
and the Brakmanas> The word Nisada 'seems to denote not so 
rXir a particular tribe, but to be the general term for the non-Aryan 
tribes Who were not under Aryan control, as the : Sudlas were . . . 
IVedir Index Vol I P 413). This is supported by the evidence 
upt4d b 5 Auplany P ava" who distinguishes the ^Nisadas from the 
other four'varnas or 'colours- (castes) The word Nrsada (Nisada) 
of the Vajasaney! Samhita (XVI, 27) is explained by the com- 
mentator Mahidhara to mean a BMorBhrUa, a tribe that still 
exists in the hills of Central trnJiaTnTlhe Vindhyan tracts 
Macdonell and Keith point out that a v^lage of the N isadas is 
mentioned in the Latyayana Srauta Sutra (VIII, !,!], and a Nisada 
Stfiapati, a leader of some kind of craft is referred to m the 
Kalyayana Srauta Sutra (r, I, 12; Weber, Ind.scke Studun, 10, 13) 
and in a Brihmana cited by the scholiast on that passage ' Accord- 
ine to Weber « the Nisadas were settled aborigines. In the opinion 
of the authors of the Vedic Index. tEiTvlew-is supported by the 
fact that the ritual of the Visvajit Sacrifice (Kausltata B., XXV, 13, 
Lot S S VIII, 2, 8; Pan. B., XVI, 6, 8, etc.) requires a temporary 
residence' with the Nisadas; for the Nisadas who would permit an 
Arvan to reside temporarily amongst them must have been partially 
amenable to Aryan influence. But the name might easily be applied 
to the whole bodv of aborigines outside the Aryan organisation 
{Vedic Index. Vol.' I, p. 454)- B The Law-giver, Mann, however, 
explains the origin of the Nisadas as the ^fbrjnngrfaBrahmaja 
father. and a Sudra mother'.' In his chapter on lEeTCastes, Manu 
saysTESTtheToirofir^-isada by a Sudra female becomes a Pulkasa 
by caste, but the son of a Sudra by a Nisada female is declared to be 
a Kukkutaka.' The social duty enjoined on the Nisadas was to kill 

T^aUHriya S.. IV, 5, 4. ^ Kiitmka S.. XVH, 13; ««*jj"f £■• H. 9- 5: 
Ki«~»S.; XVI, z 7 ; Mtamya B.. VIII, 11; P,maur,,,sa b X\ I, o, 8, etc 

* Yaska's Nirukta. Ill, 8. ' VedK '"*«■ l - P- 't* 4 ' 

* Jndisda Studim. 9, 34°. cf - I(l . x 3, r»- 

« Von Schrcedei seek, to identify </».&«> iifcm/i.r ««< ("to. P- 31*) ™ 
Nisadas with the Nyssana of Greek geographers. This, however is doubt h 1. ■ 
this coimection, see also 'Indo-Aryan Races' by Ramaprasad Lhanda who says 
that the Nisadas were a non-Aryan race. 

6 af«M0, X, 8; Muir's Sanskrit Texts. I, p. 481. ^, IO - 


and provide fish for consumption by the people. 1 According to the 
Pali texts as well, they were wild hunters and fishermen. 2 That they 
were a tribe 'of rude culture or aboriginal stock' [A.I.H.T.._ P L 290) *, 
and outside the Aryan organisation is also attested by the Ramayafa 
story of Gliha, king of the Nisadas who are descrrbed as a wrld ) 
band. 3 ... 

During the period represented by Epic and Paurame traditions 
the Nisadas seem to have had their habitat among the mountains 
that form the boundary of Jhalwar and Khandesh m the Vmdhya 
and Satpura ranges.' This is proved by a reference in the 
Mahdbhdrata ' to a Nisada rdslra in the region of the Sarasvati 
and the Western Vindhyas, not very far from Panyatra or 
Paripatra.« The Mahdbhdrata seems to connect the Nisadas with 
the Vatsas and Bhargas or Bhaggas: 

' Vatsabhuminca Kaunteyo vijigye balavdn baldt_ 
Bhargdndmadhiparicaiva Nisddddhipatim tatha.' 7 

The Nisadas seem also to have had a settlement in the east. The 
Brhatsamhitd of Varahamihira (XIV, 10) seems to recognise a 
kingdom or ' rastra' of the Nisadas in the south-east of the 
Madhyadesa. ANisada kingdom whose capital was Srhgaverapura 
(on the north side of the Ganges opposite Prayaga) is also referred 
to in the Rdnnmma (II Canto, 50, 33 to Canto, 52, 11) ; and it is not 
improbable that this Nisada kingdom is identical with the one 
referred to in the Brhatsamhitd. 

The first epigraphic mention of the tribe is found in the Junagadh 
Rock Inscription of the year 72 of Mahaksatrapa Rudradaman (i.e 
150 A.D.). Rudradaman is there credited with having conquered 
the Nisada country along with E. and W. Malwa, the ancient 
Mahism'ati region, the district round Dwarka in Gujrat, Surastra, 
Aparanta, Sindhu-Sauvlra and others. Thus the Nisada country 
in the middle of the second century A.D. was under the suzerainty 
of the Western Ksatrapas. 8 

1 Manu, X, 48. , , „ .,. , 

* Pick, Die Social* Glieierung. 12, r6o, 206, etc.; cf. Mints Suns, lexis. 301, 
303, 366, n. 164, 403, 481. 

" Adikdnela, Canto I: Aynd'n-i fGbsni. Canto 51. 

* Malcolm, Memoirs of Cenlhil 1 ndia. Vol. I, p. 452. 

t III 130 4. • KM-. XII, 135, 3-5- . ' ". 30. »>-"• 

« The Chitoigaih Inscription of Mofcala or Mewad of the > ikrama year i 4 8 3 

(£*. W., Vol. II, pp. 416B.) «ate, in a general way (verse 4';' that Mokala snbdued 

the Aicas Kamarupas, Va.iaas, XisSclas. Cinas and Tun.ska«; but there can be 

no donbt that the verse has been put in solely for the sake of poetical ornamentation . 


The Nisadhas were a different race from the Nisadas with 
whom thev arc often confounded; and we may conclude that they 
belonged to the Aryan fold. According to the Epic and Pauramc 
tradition, the Nisadhas are said to have sprung from the primeval 
King Prthu, sori of Vena. 1 The tribe seems to have derived its 
name from Nisadha who is described in the Puranas and Bhagavad- 
gita to have been the son of Atithi, grandson of Kusa, and father of 
Nala. 2 According to the Visnupurana (IV, Chap. 24, 17), the ten 
kings of the Mekala country and nine of the Sapta Kosala country 
are said to have been succeeded by the nine kings of the Nisadhas, 
while according to the Vayupurana, the kings of the Nisadha 
countrv held swav till the end of the days of Mann. They were all 
descendants of King Nala, and lived in the country of Nisadha 
{Vayu P., Chap. 99, 376). This King Nala of the Puranas must 
be identical with the King Nala whose story is referred to in the 
MahMMrata (III). S 

But notwithstanding the celebrity of the Nisadha country as the 
kingdom of Nala, it is difficult to ascertain exactly where it was 
situated. It is, perhaps, permissible to conjecture that it was not 
very far from Vidarbha, the country of Nala's queen, Damayanti. 
From the directions given by Nala to Damayanti, Wilson thinks * that 
it was near the Vindhyas and Payosnl river, and that it was near the 
roads leading from it across the Rksa mountain to Avanti and the 
south, as well as to Vidarbha and to Kosala. Lassen places Nisadha, 
the kingdom of Nala, along the Satpura hills to the north-west of 
Berar. Burgess also places it to the south of Malwa. 5 

The Puranas locate the Nisadhas in the upper and lower regions 
of the Vindhya ranges. 11 According to the Mahabharata, the capital 
of the Nisadhas was Giriprastha (III, 324, 12). 

1 Vayu P., 62, 137-48; Brahmanda P., II, 36, 158-73; KHrma P., I, 1, 6; Ibid., 
14, 12; Siva P., VII, 56, 30-1; Mbh., XII, 59, 2233-4, etc. 

a Kiirtna P., 21,^; Bka&nvdgitii, 9, 12, 1; Saura P., 30, 69; Siva P., Dhatma, 
bi-g; Brahma P., 8, 88. 

8 The Nala storv seems to have been older than the Mahabharata, 
for it is referred lo by Sit 5 in the Ramayana (Ray Chandhuri, Studies in Indian 
Antiquities, Chub, ov. interrelation of the lav Epics). 

4 Viswupurcltni , Vol. II, pp. 156-90. 

5 Antiquities af Katkia^ar and Kacch, p. 131. 

« Brahmanda P., 49; Vayu P., 45; Vdmana P., 13, etc. 


The Nisadhas seem to have played a prominent part in the 
Kimiksetra war in which they ranged themselves on the side of the 
Pandavas, along with the Mekalas, Kosalas, Madras and Dasarnas." 
They were at one time defeated by Karna. a 

» Karnafiarvan, Chap. 22, 3; Bhistnaparvan , Chap. 54, 8. 
2 Karnaparvan, Chap. 8, 19; Dronaparvan, Chap. 4, 8. 


Kasi was the ancient name of the kingdom of which the chief 
citv was Baranasi, the modern Benares, which is situated 80 miles 
below Allahabad oil the north bank of the Ganges, at the junction 
between that river and the river Barana.i T? rom the Joint name ot 
the two streams which bound the city to the north and the south,— 
the Barana and the Asi— the Brahmanas derive Varanasi or Bara- 
nasi * The Barana or Varana is a considerable rivulet which rises 
to the north of Aliahabad and has a course of about 100 miles; while 
the Asi is a mere brook. The former is probably identical with the 
river Varanavati, the water of which is said m the Atharvaveda 
(IV 7 1) to have had the property of removing poison. We agree 
with Slacdonell and Keith that, though Kasi is a late word, it is quite 
possible that the town is older, as the river Varanavati may be con- 
nected with the later Baranasi. 3 

According to the Jatakas, Baranasi had other names in previous 
ages i.e. in previous incarnations of the Buddha: e.g. Surundhaiia* 
Sudassana, 1 Brahmavaddhana," Pupphavati,' Rammanagara • and 
Molini. 9 In the Chinese versions of Euddhist works, the terms Kasi 
and Varanasi are generally given in transcription, but the former 
term is sometimes translated by Ti-miao, meaning 'reed-sprouts . 
Ti-miao may have been intended to translate Kasi, as supposedly 
connected with Kasi," a certain kind of grass. Baranasi is also 
called Kasmagara and Kasiptira (e.g. Jataka, V, 54; VI, J05; 
Dhammapada Comm., 1, 87}. 

The city proper, as Rhys Davids says, included the land 
between the Barana and the Asi. ' Its extent including the suburbs, 
is often stated to have been, at the time when it was the capital of an 
independent kingdom (that is some time before the rise of Buddhism) 
12 leagues or about 8s miles." " In the Jatakas we find the extent 

1 ithvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. 34. 

2 Cnmii'uKiuini And.nd (ui^dpi/y d fndid [S X. Majumtlar). p. 500. 

J Vtiio Ada. Vol. I, p. 154- </«<,*« (Fausboll), IV, p. 104. 

■ Ibid., IV, p. ri 9 ; V, p. 177. * mi - IV ' P" "9 ; v > P- 3» 2 ' 

1 Ibid., VI, p. 131. " lm - IV - PP- "1- *■ etc - 

9 Ibid., IV, p. 15. 

3° Walters, On Yuan Chiang, Vol. II, pp. 58-9. 
n Buddhist India, p. 54. 


of the city mentioned as 12 yojanas. 1 Nowadays, Benares extends 
fonr miles along the bank of the river, which here descends to the 
water with a steep brink. Down this brink are built flights of steps 
known as ghats, at the foot of which pilgrims bathe and dead bodies 
are burnt, 2 

Although the capital of Kasi (Pali, Kasi) is generally given as 
BaranasI, it is said that when Asoka was king of Kasi, his capital 
was in Potali 1 ; and another king, Udaya Bhadda, had his seat of 
government in Surundha. 1 It is possible that these cities did not 
form part of the regular kingdom of Kasi, but became annexed to 
it during the reigns of some of the more powerful kings- 5 

The little kingdom of Kasi, whose extent is given in the Jataka 
(V 41; HI, 304, 391) as three hundred leagues, was bordered by 
Kosala' on the north, Magadha on the east, and Vatsa on the west. 1 
It was a wealthy and prosperous country ,_ having ' an abundance 
of the seven gems', 7 and the Bhojajamva Jataka {]., I, 178) tells lis 
that ' all the kings around coveted the kingdom of Benares . It 
often served as a bone of contention between its three powerful 
neighbours, as we shall see. 

Kasi is mentioned several times in Vedic literature and m 
the Epics The SinkMyana Srauta Sutra' mentions Kasya, the king 
of Kasi, and Jala, son of Jatukarni, who became the king's chaplain 
Kasva was a warrior, as the Bfhadarauxaka Vpamsad {III, a, 2) 
informs us From the Satapatha Brahmana (XIII, 5, 4, 1°) we leatn 
that Satanika, son of Satrajita, took the horse of King Kasya and per- 
formed the Govinata YajSa. Afterwards, the king too performed 
this sacrifice The Brhadiranvaka and Kausltaki Vpantsais speak 
of Aiatasatru, another king of Kasi • ; while the Bauihdyana Srauta 
Sutra " tells us that Ayu, son of Pururavas, renounced the world and 
wandered in the countries of Kasi, Kuru and Pancala. 

Pururavas is mentioned in the Ramayana " as king or Kasi. 
Mitradeva said to the nymph TJrvasi : 'Go to Pururava king ot Kasi 
He will be your husband'. In the same Mnda (59, 19), Puru, son 01 
Yavati is represented as residing in Pratjsthaua and ruling over the 
kingdom of Kasi. We are told in the .4AM>«Mr3thjsarga) tliat 

^litata/n, p. 160; IV, p. 377: MajjMma NikiW Comm., II, p 608; B. C. 
I aw India as descrited in early tuts of fluddhism and Jaimsm. pp. 4> ■«"• 

' S^n^'S °' Ini "' V ° L '' P ' ' 4 ' " im - IV ' p .?' I04ff - 

' (SLbseteil IHetiimary 0/ Pali Proper Kama, Vol. I, article on'K.IS'. 

Cdy,dr:-t<'e History of India, Vol. I, p. 316. 

Anj\utiJa Nikaya, Vol. I, p. 213; Vol. IV, pp. 252. 2* **>; see also D, S ha 

XVIII, 44. 

Wi&y, II p. 75. , m Wi ni j, ,. KauL Of. 

11 VUarakanda, 36th sargo, si. 25. 


Vasistha asked Sumantra to invite many pious kings including 
the king of Benares, together with one thousand Brahmins, Ksatnyas 
VaS and Sudras. In the KiskinihyaMnda (40th saiga) we read 
that Sugriva sent the monkey king Vinata to Kasi, among other 

^liffigu^ftn'more prominently in the MaM,M^. 
Harvasva king of Benares, was killed by the relations of king Vita- 
K. battle fought on the land between the Ganges and the 
Turnna His son Sudeva was then installed on the throne of Kasi. 
Suoeva ruled righteously, but he also was defeated by the Vitahavyas 
and his son Divodasa became king. Divodasa built the city ot 
Benares which became populated by people of the four castes the 
city W between the north bank of the Ganges and the south bank 
of the river Gomati. Big markets were opened, and the city seemed 
likely to prosper, but the Vitahavyas again attacked, and a great 
war ensued, lasting for a thousand days. Divodasa was defeated, 
and fled to a forest, taking shelter in the hermitage of the sage 
Bharadvaja, eldest son of Brhaspati. This sage assured the king 
that he would perform a sacrifice so that Divodasa might be blessed 
with a son who would kill thousands of the Vitahavyas ihis son 
was duly born, and was named Pratardana. He studied the Vcdas 
and archery, and was sent in dne course to conquer the Vitahavyas 
A fierce fight ensued, in which the Vitahavyas were defeated. 
Another passage of the Mahibharata tells us that Divodasa the son 
of Bhimasena, king of Kasi, had a son named Pratardana by Madhavi 
daughter of Yavati.' When Pratardana came b-. the throne ot 
Kasi, he established his capital in Benares and acquired great lame 
by offering his own son in charity to a Brahmin.' 

We have vet another version of Divodasa s hfe story m the 
Puranas and the Harivamsa. Saunihotra, a certain king of Kasi, 
had a son named Dhanvantari who studied the Ayurveda with 
Bharadvaja,* and later became king of Kasi. He is celebrated M 
the author of the Ayurveda and killer of all diseases.'' Divodasa 
was the great-grandson of this Dhanvantari. It is said that in his 
time Benares, owing to a curse, was deserted, and infested by a 
Raksasa named Ksemaka. Divodasa left Benares and founded his 
kingdom on the banks of the river Gonial!.' Once Bhadrasrenya, 

1 Amtsasanaparvan, Chap. 30, pp. 1899-1900. 

' Udyogaparvan, Chap. 117, p. 746. 

I Amdasampamm, Clrap. 137, pp. r995-6. _ 

< HarivtmiJ Chap. 'J. " Vayu1mn v ,,a"V- <lf~ 

• Hanvamia, Chaps. 3^; ct B,akmah„ina, Chap. ..;, si. 75 r f" e f°1' c f 

tables of the family of Divodasa are given in the Hmo. , Chaps. 31-2, Brahmaf*,***, 

Chap. T3, and V ayupvrann. Chap. 92. 

THE KASiS 105 

son of Mahisman ' and king of the Yadu dynasty, acquired Benares. 
His sons were defeated by King Divodasa who recovered the city, 
sparing the life of Bhadrasrenya's youngest son, Durdama. Later, 
however this Durdama again took Benares which was then recovered 
by Pratardana, son of Divodasa. Elsewhere,' we read that Alarka 
Saunati (grandson of Pratardana) re-established the city of Benares, 
after killing the Raksasa Ksemaka. 

We return to the Mahabharata references to Kasi. A certain 
king of Kasi gave his daughter Sarvascni in marriage to Bharata, 
son of Dusmanta (Dusyanta), king of the Kuru dynasty, and Sakun- 
tala daughter of Visvamitra." Kasya, another king of Kasi, had 
three daughters, Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, who were won by 
Bhisma for his brother Vicitravirya in a Svayamvara.< Suvahu a 
king of Kasi, was conquered by Bhisma. 3 On the occasion of the 
marriage ceremony of Abhimanyu, the king of Kasi and others were 
invited by Yudhisthira to a city named Upaplavya near Virata." 
The king of Kasi was an ally of Yudhisthira, and helped the Pandavas 
in the Kuruksetra war.' In battle he rode horses decorated with 
gold and garlands ■ ; feivya and he guarded the centre of the Pandava 
armv with 30,000 chariots. 1 The king of Kasi is mentioned as the 
best' archer. 1 " Kasi, Karusa and Cedi armies were under the leader- 
ship of Dhrstaketu." 

The Puranas contain several stories about kings of Kasi. We 
have mentioned the account of Divodasa. Another king mentioned 
in the Vdyupurina" is Kasa who was the son of Dharmavrddha 
of the Nahusa family. The sons of Kasa were Kasara, Rastra and 
Dirghatapas," and Dlrghatapas' sou was the learned Dharma_ 
According to the Harivamsa (Chap. 29), the sons of Kasa, a king of 
the Anenah dynasty, were known as Kafis. Dirghatamas ^Dirgha- 
tapas?) was the eldest son. _ 

Benares, the capital of Kasi, figures in the story of Krsna s 
quarrel with Pumlva. King Pundva, aided by the king of Benares 
fought with Krsna Vasudeva who defeated and killed Pundva, and 
burnt the city of Benares." . 

According to the Jainas, Parsvanatha was born in Benares 
about 8r 7 B.C. His father Asvasena was the king of Benares, and 

I PidimjMram, Srsti, Chap. 12. • Viyupurf. Chap. 9 2 - 

i Adipavvan. Chap. 1)5, p. 105. 

1 Uiyogapamm, Chaps. 172-94, pp. 79I-™' 1 - „,.._,. r ,„ „ ,, .« 

> sJhi/armn. Chap. 30. pp. 241-2. *•"** «"«"• <?»£• '*■ J " '■ 

• Udyogafcmn, Chap. 72, p. 714- ' ?,'"?"' ,-'si 

■ Bhlnianmn, Chap. 50, p. 924- " "■*• C1 »P- «* + ^ 

1 Utyogapanan, Chap. 19S, p. 807. " Chap. 92. 

" V^nuptrihui, 5II1 Auisa, Chap. 34. 


he himself attained perfect knowledge (kevala-jfiana) seated under a 
certain tree near the city. 1 . 

Kasi also figures in the stories of Mahavira and his disciples. " 
For example, there lived in Benares a householder named Culanipiya 
who was prosperous and had no equal. His wife was called Sama. 
At a certain time Mahavira came and a congregation went out from 
Benares to hear him preach. Culanipiya lived in conformity with 
the teaclring which he received from Mahavira. 3 Among other 
disciples of Mahavira who were connected with Benares were 
Siiradeva, a prosperous householder, 4 Aryaraksita 6 and Jayaghosa. 6 
We are told also that the king of Kasi named Nandana, the seventh 
Baladeva, son of King Agnisikha, abandoned all pleasures and hewed 
down his karma like a forest, as it were. 7 

On the night in which Mahavira died, the king of Kasi instituted 
an illumination, it being a day of fasting (Posadha) ; for he said, 
'When the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination 
of material matter'. 8 

There is a reference in Kautilya's Arthasdstra to the poisoning 
of a king of Kasi by his own queen. _ 

Although, as we have seen, Kasi and Benares feature fairly 
prominently in Hindu and Jain sources, it is the Buddhist books, and 
particularly the Jatakas, which give us fuller information on the 
subject. In the Puranas, Kasi is mentioned as a janapada or country. 
In the Pali canon, 9 however, it is referred to as one of the sixteen 
'Mahajanapadas,' and its capital, Baranasi, was one of the four 
places of pilgrimage for the Buddhists, and was included in the list 
of great cities suggested by Ananda as suitable places -for the 
parinibbdna of the Buddha. 10 

Although Kasi was no longer an independent kingdom in the 
Buddha's day, the memory, of its independence seems to have been 
still fresh, for it is frequently mentioned as such in the Jatakas and 
elsewhere. To begin with, it is said that Kasi was once ruled by the 
Bharatas one of whom, Dhatarattha, was its king in the timeof Renu. 11 
The traditional name of the king of Kasi was evidently Brahmadatta, 
and references to kings of that name abound in the Jatakas. 

1 S. Stevenson, Heart of Jaini-sin, pp. 48-9. 

2 B. C. Law, Mahavira: 'ilia Life ami Teachings, sec. I. 

3 Uvdsagadasao, Vol. II, pp. 90-&. {B.I.S.) 

* Ibid., p. 100. 5 Heart of Jaimsm, p. 7f- 

• Jaina Sulfas, S.B.E., II, pp. 136-7. See also Hid., p. 50, for the story of the 
Jaina monk Bala, and Bhadrn, daughter of King Knusaliia. 

1 Sutrakrtdnga, Jaina Sutras, II, p. 87. s Jaina Sutras, I, p. 266. 

» Angiitlara Nikdya, I, pp. 213, etc. 10 Digha Nikaya, II, 146. 

11 Ibid., II, I35f. Here {Maha»o-.;i>iJa Sulfa) the foundation of Baranasi is 
attributed to Mahagovinda, its first king being Dhatarattha. 


Brahmadatta was probably the dynastic name of the kings of 
Benares; for instance, in the Gangamala Jataka (J, HI, 452) Udaya, 
king of Benares, is addressed as Brahmadatta. Elsewhere 111 the 
Jataka (III, pp. 406ft), we read that a certain pnnce Brahmadatta 
became king of Benares. He married the exquisitely beautiful 
daughter of the king of Kosala, and made her his chief queen. He 
held a parasol festival, and the whole city was decorated so splendidly 
as to seem like a citv of the gods. The king went around the city m 
procession, and then mounted his throne on the dais in the palace. 
The throne was surmounted by a white parasol. Brahmadatta 
looked down on all the persons who stood in attendance, on one 
side the ministers, on another the Brahmins and householders 
resplendent in the beauty of varied apparel, 011 another the towns- 
people with various gifts in their hands, on another troupes of dancing 
girls to the number of sixteen thousand, like a gathering of the 
nymphs of heaven in full apparel' , and reflected that all his splendour 
was due to 'an alms-gift of four portions of gruel given to tour 
paccekabuddhas '. . r „-t* ,1 L ^ 

One King Brahmadatta told the inhabitants of Kasi that there 
would be a famine lasting for twelve years, and that only those 
inhabitants might remain who had provision for that period. Many 
people died at Benares on account of this famine. One very wealthy 
person however, gave alms to a paccekabuddha who granted three 
boons 'in return. The almsgiver himself prayed that his granary 
should always be filled with paddy; his wife prayed that one pot of 
rice cooked by her would be sufficient for hundreds of thousands ot 
people; and their son prayed that his treasure-house should always 
be full of wealth." 

There seem to have been frequent wars between the two kingdoms 
of Kasi and Kosala, first one side being victorious, and then the 
other We are told, 1 for instance, that a certain Brahmadatta was 
a wealthy king of Benares. He was rich in treasure, revenue, troops 
and vehicles. The king of Kosala at that time, named Dlghiti, was 
not so wealthv as lie was. Brahmadatta waged war against Dlghiti. 
defeated him" and took possession of his treasuries and storehouses 
The king of Kosala and his consort escaped, went to Benares, and 
lived there in disguise in a potter's house. The queen bore a son 
Dighavu (or Dighavu), who was sent away for safety. The king ot 
Kasi some time afterwards learnt that the king and queen of Kosala 
were dwelling in his kingdom, and they were captured, and were 
being led to the place of execution when Dighayu, who was on a 

I FoS"f 34' 3 g V™/-. C— . i, 5 6B. ; Jilaka, III, HxS., 487. 


visit to the city, saw them. Dlghiti gave out his dying advice to his 
Ion 'Look not too far nor too near.' Understanding this advice, 
Dighayu entered the service of the king of KM. One day the king 
ascended a chariot driven by Dighayu. Travelling at high speed he 
left the royal retinue far behind. The king became tired, stopped the 
chariot, and fell asleep. Dighayu thought of tolling him but 
remembering his father's advice he desisted. When Brahmadatta 
awoke, however, Dighayu revealed his identity and promised the 
king his life. His father's kingdom was restored to him, and he 
married Brahmadatta's daughter. 

On another occasion, the king of Benares attacked the kingdom 
of Kosala and took its king prisoner. He set up royal officials as 
governors in the conquered country, and himself having collected aS 
their available treasure, returned with his, spoils to Benares The 
king of Kosala had a son named Cliatta who fled when his father 
was" taken prisoner, and went to Taxila to complete his education 
On his way back from Taxila, Chatta came to a wood where dwelt 
five hundred ascetics. Chatta joined them, and eventually became 
their leader. He came to Benares with the ascetics, and spent a 
night in the king's garden. The next morning the ascetics m their 
quest for alms came to the door of the palace. , The king was 
charmed with their deportment, and particularly with Chatta who 
answered all his questions to his satisfaction ; and he asked the mcetKS 
to stay in his garden. Chatta knew a spell whereby he could bring 
to light buried treasure. He repeated this spell, and discovered that 
the treasure which had belonged to his father was buried in that very 
garden He then told the ascetics that he was the son of the king 
of Kosala, and they agreed to help him Chatta removed the 
treasure which was taken to Sravasti by the ascetics. He then 
had all the king's officers seized, recovered his kingdom, made the 
city invincible against invasion, and took up his residence there 

In the MahasUava J alula we read that the kingdom of Benares 
was once seized by the king of Kosala who buried the lung of KM 
(Mahasilava) and his soldiers alive, up to the neck. The king -at 
KM managed to get out of the pit, and to resc ue . his soldiers and 
by the magic power of two yaksas who happened to be there dispatmg 
over a corpse, he secured his sword of state, and went to the usurper « 
bedside at dead of night and frightened him. On being told the 
story of the king of Kasi's escape, the usurper praised him, begg* 
his pardon, and on the morrow gave back Ins kingdom, and lumselt 
with his troops and elephants returned to his own country. 

i Jataka, III, pp. Ii5ff. 

2 Ibid., I, pp. 262 et seq.\ see also I, 409; Ldana Lomm., 123. 

THE KA§TS 109 

In the Asatarupa Jitaka, we lead that the kingdom of Benares 
was once seized by the king of Kosala who marched with a great 
force against Benares, killed the king, and carried off his queen 
But the king's son escaped, and later collected a mighty force and 
came to Benares. He pitched his camp close to the city, and sent 
a message to the king of Kosala, demanding that he should surrender 
the kingdom or else give battle. The king informed him that 
he would give battle. But the young prince's mother sent word 
to her son advising him not to fight, but to blockade the city on 
every side so that the citizens would be worn out for want of food 
and water' The prince acted on this advice, and the citizens were 
famished and on the seventh day they beheaded their king and 
brought his head to the prince. Tims the prince succeeded m 
regaining his paternal kingdom. 1 On another occasion the kingdom 
of Benares was seized by a king of Savatttu (Sravasti) named Vanka, 
but was soon restored. 8 

There seems to have been friendly intercourse between the 
chieftains of Benares and the kings of Magadha, as instanced by the 
fact that King Bimbisara sent his own physician Jivaka to attend 
the son of the Treasurer of Benares, when the young man had twisted 
his internal organs through practising acrobatics.' 

The Cambridge History of India (p. 316) informs us that at 
different periods Kasi came under the sway of the three successive 
suzerain powers of N. India— the Purus of Vatsa, the Iksyakus 
i .iala and the kings of Magadha; but it seems to have enjoyed 
independent power between the decline of Vatsa and the nse of 
Kosala, when King Brahmadatta conquered Kosala, possibly about 
a century and a half before the Buddha's time. 

As we have seen, in the early days, Kasi and Kosala are repre- 
sented as two independent countries whose kings fought with each 
other « Kafl and Kosala are frequently mentioned together in 
literature (e.g. Arlgultara NiMya, V, 59)-. I" «*> Buddha s time, 
Kosala was already the paramount power in India. We have seen 
how several successful invasions of Kasi had been carried out by the 
kings of Kosala. Kail's absorption into Kosala was an accomplished 
fact before the accession of Pasenadi, for Pasenadi s father Maha- 
kosala gave his daughter a village of Kasi (Kasigama) as bath 
money' on the occasion of her marriage with King Bimbisara 
of Magadha. 5 

1 Jdiaka, I, p. 4°9- 

a im., in, pp. if'8-9. ,„,_ ,,, rT ,, 

J Vimya Texts, Pt. II, pp. 1S4-5 piiihmgg.i. VIII, 1). 
* D. It. Bhandarkar, Car., 1918, p. 55- 
6 JStaka, W, 34 s ; H-403- 


After Bimbisara's death, Pasenadi withdrew the gift from 
Ajatasatru, and this led to a war between Kosala and Magadha. 
Pasenadi was defeated in three campaigns, but in another battle he 
avenged his defeat, and took possession of Kasi. However, Pasenadi 
treated Ajatasatru generously, giving him his daughter in marriage, 
and even bestowing the disputed village on her as a wedding gift. 1 
In the Dlgha Nikaya we read that Pasenadi, king of Kasi, used to 
collect taxes from the inhabitants of these two countries. He used 
to share the income with his subordinates. 2 The Makavagga, 3 
however, mentions a Kasika-raja (king of Kasi) who sent a robe to 
Jivaka. Buddhaghosa says * that this was a brother of Pasenadi and 
son of the same father. He was probably a sub-king of Pasenadi. 5 
Later, when Ajatasatru succeeded in establishing his sway over 
Kosala, Kasi too was included in his dominions (see Chapter on 

The Sumangalavilasinl a referring to the more ancient period 
of Kasi, mentions a certain Rama, king of Kasi, who had an attack 
of leprosy, in consequence of which he became distasteful to the 
members of his harem, and the dancing girls. Being much distressed, 
he left his kingdom in charge of his eldest son, went to a forest, and 
was soon cured of the disease by living on leaves and fruits. His 
body now appeared like gold. He dwelt in a tree-hole, and later 
married the daughter of King Okkaka (Skt. Iksvaku). Thirty-two 
sons were born to him; and these sons afterwards built the city 
named Kola, and became known as Koliyas. There were inter- 
marriages between the Koliyas and the Sakyas (other descendants 
of Okkaka) down to the time of the Buddha Gautama. 

The names of several other kings of Benares are mentioned in the 
Jatakas, among them being those of Ahga, Uggasena, Udaya, Dhanan- 
jaya, Vissasena, Kalabu (Jataka, III, 39), and Samyama. The 
'Sullanipata Commentary on the Khaggavisdna Stttta contains 
the names of several kings of Benares who renounced the world 
and became paccekabuddhas. The Ceylon Chronicles 7 mention the 
names of others who reigned in Benares, e.g. Duppasaha and sixty 
of his descendants; Asoka, son of Samankara, and 84,000 of his 
descendants ; also sixteen kings, ancestors of Okkaka. Sometimes the 
king is referred to merely as Kasi-raja. In the Jataka (III, p. 28) 
we are told that a king of Benares used to learn Vedic hymns from 
his family priest {purohita). 

1 Samyulla Nikaya, 1, pp. 82-5. a I, pp. 238-9. 

s Vin., I, 281. * Vinaya. Texts, II, 195, n. 2. 

5 Malalasekcra, i>idi'iiw.ry of Pall Proper Si-mna, s.v. KaSi. 

6 Sumangalavildsiiu, Pt. I, pp. 260-2 ; vide also chapter on Koliyas. 
? Mahdvamsa Tika, 127, 129, r30. 


The king of Benares at the time of the Buddha Kassapa is said 
to have been Kiki. When Kassapa Buddha arrived in Benares, 
the king, having listened to his sermons, entertained the Buddha 
and his monks at the palace. 1 One of Kiki's daughters was 
Uracchada, who attained arahatship at the age of sixteen. He had 
seven other daughters, and a son Pathavindhara, who succeeded him 
(Divyavadana ; 22, Sujata). During the life of the Buddha Kassapa, 
Kiki waited on him with many kinds of gifts, 2 and at his death built 
one of the four gates outside the Buddha's cetiya. This gate was a 
league in width. 3 In the Sanskrit books he is called KrkI,* and is 
mentioned as owning a palace called Kokanada. 

From the Jatakas we learn that Benares was ruled with justice 
and equity. The ministers of the king were just; no false suit was 
brought to court, and sometimes true cases were so scanty that 
ministers had to remain idle for lack of litigants. The king of 
Benares was always on the alert to know his own faults. Once a 
certain king of Benares went outside the city to find out whether 
there was anyone who might know anything against him. The 
king of Kosala was out on a similar mission, and the two kings met 
at a place where the road was too narrow for two carriages to pass. 
Each of the drivers spoke of the virtues of his king, and finally the 
king of Kosala and his driver gave place to the king of Benares. 5 

There was a belief current amongst the people of Benares that 
when kings rule with justice and equity, when they reign peacefully, 
all things retain their respective nature and character; but that 
when kings rule with injustice and inequity, when their reign becomes 
one of terror and tyranny, all things lose their respective nature. 
Oil, honey, molasses and the like, and even the wild fruits lose their 
sweetness and flavour. 6 

In spite of good government, the country was not entirely free 
from crime. For instance, a physician named Cakkhupala in anger 
gave one of his women patients, who had tried to cheat him out of 
his promised reward for curing her, a drug which made her blind. 7 
There were also instances of highway robbery and house-breaking. 
In the Satapatta Jataka (Jataka, II, pp. 387-8) we read that the 
Bodhisattva in a former life gathered 500 robbers together and became 
their chief, living by highway robbery and house-breaking. 

1 Majjkimn Xiki/ya, II, pp. 49ff- 

* Suttanipfda Comm., I, aSr, 283. B Jj»<*-> T 94- 

* E.g. Mahavastu (ed. Senart), I, 325; Divyavadana, 22L; Avadana Sataka, I, 
338, etc. 

6 Jataka, II, pp. r-5. 

* Ibid., Ill, pp. iio-ii. 

7 Dhammapada Comm., Vol. I, p. 20. 


Kasi was evidently a great centre of trade and industry, and a 
most populous and prosperous country. Frequent mention is made 
of caravans leaving Kasi to travel for trade. One highway went 
through Kasi to Rajagrha, 1 and another to Sravasti 2 ; and there was 
also direct trade between Kasi and Taksasila. 3 We read of a trader 
of Benares who went with 500 carts to a frontier country and bought 
sandal wood 1 ; and of another trader who was going to Sravasti 
with five hundred carts full of red cloth, but could not cross the river 
as it was in flood, and had to stay on the near side to sell his goods." 
The merchants of Benares used to go about hawking goods, which 
were carried by donkeys. 6 Horse dealers from northern districts 
used to bring horses to Benares for sale. 7 Sindh horses were available 
in Benares, and were used as the royal horses of ceremony. 8 In 
Benares, too, there were skilled elephant trainers, 9 and corn 
merchants. 10 

In Benares fine cloths widely known as Kasi cloths were manu- 
factured, and Kasi robes were most highly esteemed as gifts, each 
robe being valued at one hundred thousand. 11 Mention is also made 
of the perfumes of Kasi {Kasi-vilepana—Jataka, I, 355; and Kasi- 
candana—Anguttara Nikaya, III, 391; LJdana Comm. (P.T.S.), 33 2 ]- 

At Benares there was a rich banker named Mahadhanasetthi. 
His parents taught him dancing and music, and he married the 
daughter of another rich banker, and of similar education. Maha- 
dhana became addicted to drink and gambling, with the result 
that he lost his own wealth as well as his wife's, being finally reduced 
to begging for alms. 12 In general, however, the merchants of Benares 
must have been highly respected, for we read in the Divyavadana 
(p. 100) that after the death of Priyasena, the chief merchant, 
Brahmadatta, king of Kasi, appointed Supriya chief merchant of the 
royal court; and after Brahmadatta 's death, the ministers anointed 
Supriva king (p. 121). 

There was in Benares a market known as the ivory workers 
bazar, where ivory articles were sold. 13 There were also stone 
cutters or experts in working stone-quarrying and shaping stones. 1 * 

1 Vinaya, I, 212. a *&&, u - 

* Dkammapada Comm., Ill, 445. 

* Suttanipala Comm., Vol. II, pp. 5^3ff. 
s Dkammapada Comm., Vol. Ill, p. 429. 

6 Jdtaka, II, p. 109; Dkammapada Comm., Vol. I, p. 123. 

* Jdtaka, II, p. 287. s Ibid., u , 338- 

^ Ibid., II, p. 221. 10 Ibid., Ill, p. 198. 

n Ibid., V, p. 377; Lalttavistara (Lefmann), p. 215. Buddhist Suites, S.B.E., 
XI, p. 92; Jdtaka, VI, 151, 450. 

12 Dkammapada Comm., Vol. Ill, p- 429- 1S J^aka, II, p. 197- 

11 Ibid., I, p. 478. 


Five hundred carpenters lived in a village in Kail. 1 There was in 

Benares a great carpenter-quarter containing a thousand families. 
These carpenters avowed publicly that they could make a bed or 
a chair or a house; but when they took a large advance from the 
people, they proved themselves to be liars. They were then 
so much harassed by their customers that they had to leave the 
town.* A certain carpenter of Benares prepared mechanical wooden 
birds (airships), by means of which he conquered a tract of land in 
the Himalayas. His capital was known as Katthavahananagara. 
He sent valuable presents to the king of Benares who in return sent 
him the news of the advent of the Buddha Kassapa in Benares. 3 

In Benares, there was a village of hunters on the banks of the 
river ( = Ganges), and another on the farther side. Five hundred 
families dwelt in each.* The Nesada of the Mara Jataka (II, 36), 
who was ordered by the king to catch a golden peacock, practised the 
profession of a hunter in a Nesada village near Benares. 

There were snake-charmers in Benares (Jataka, III, p. 198). 
An elephant festival was held in the city, in which Brahmins had to 
chant elephant lore (Hastisutram). In this festival five score ele- 
phants with pure white tusks were used. 5 There was also a time- 
honoured drinking festival, at which people used to drink strong 
liquor and quarrel with one another. Sometimes. their legs and arms 
were broken, crowns were cracked, and ears were torn off. 6 

From the Jatakas it is evident that the people of Benares were 
charitable, especially to hermits. 7 Visayha, a great merchant of 
Benares, had alms-halls built at the four city-gates, besides one m the 
heart of the city and one at the door of his own house. He distributed 
alms at these six points, and everyday 600,000 men came there to 
beg. 8 In the Lalitavistara there is a reference to Ratnacuda (Ratna- 
iikht), a charitable king of KasL 9 

Enthusiastic young men of Benares used to go to Taxila, tor 
their education. 10 We read in the Dhammapada Commentary 
(I, 25iff.) how a certain king of Benares paid 1,000 kahapanas to a 
young Brahmin for teaching him a mantra (spell) which afterwards 
proved the means of saving his life, when his barber and senapati 
(general) plotted to kill him; and how another king of Benares paid 

l Jataka, II, p. 18. « ««■. ™ P- *5£ 

3 Suttanipdta Comm., II, pp. 575S. if-^J ' P ' I 

s Ibid., II, p. 48. fl Ibtd - IV ' P" " 5 - 

* Ibid., I, V. 361; p. 239 (Fausboll). 

8 Ibid., Ill, p. 129. Cf. the almost identical stories of Saukha, Jataka, l\ , p. 15 . 
Jataka, I, p! 262 ; and of Prince Jarasandha, Jataka, IV, p. 176. 
n I>fmann, p. 171. 
10 Dhammapada Comm., I, pp. 250-51 \ Jataka, II, 47. 


i ooo kahapanas to a young Brahmin for a spell which enabled him to 
read people's' evil thoughts, so that he could learn whether any of 
his subjects spoke ill of him. There seem to have been educational 
institutions at Benares also, some of which were even older than 
those of Taxila (Khuddakapatha Comm., 198). We find for instance 
that Sankha, a Brahmin of Taxila, sent his son Susima to Benares to 
study. 1 

A knowledge of spells formed an important part ot a young man s 
education in the days when Kasi was an independent kingdom; 
and it is natural that we should read of numerous superstitions which 
were current in Benares. We read in the Jatakas of the skill of the 
Brahmins of Benares in ' Lakkhanamantam , or charms for discovering 
the auspicious signs of various creatures. 2 In Benares there was a 
Brahmin who professed to be able to tell whether the swords (of 
warriors) were lucky or not. 3 There was a superstitious belief 
current in Kasi, as in other countries, that it was an evil omen if the 
wind touching the body of a candala (ontcaste) touched that of a 
person of another caste.* Slaughter of deer, swine and other 
animals for offerings to goblins was in vogue in Benares. 5 

Besides those already referred to, names of places mentioned 
in literature as belonging to Kasi are Vasabhagama, Macchikasanda, 
Kitagiri and Dhanapalagama. 6 The place which was most 
intimately associated with the several visits that the Buddha paid to 
Benares was Isipatana Migadava, a famous Deer Park near the city. 
It was eighteen leagues from Uruvela, and it was there that the 
Buddha preached his first sermon after his enlightenment, to his 
friends the Pancavaggiya monks. 7 There also the Buddha spent his 
first rainy season ; and he mentioned Isipatana as one of the four 
places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit. 8 
' Isipatana was so called because sages, on their way through the 
air (from the Himalayas) alight here or start from here on their 
aerial flight'. 9 Several other incidents connected with the Buddha, 
besides the preaching of his first sermon, are mentioned in the texts 
as having taken place in Isipatana. 10 

1 Dhammapada Comm., Ill, 445. 2 Jdtaka, IV, p. 335- 

a Ibid., I, p. 455. * Ibid., Ill, p. 233. s Ibid., IV, p. tt$, 

6 B.C. Law, India us dest riled in early texts of Buddhism and Jainism, p. 42. 

7 Digha Nikdya, III, p. 141, Majjhivui Nikdya, I, pp. I7<)ff. ; cf. Samyutta Nikdya, 
V, pp. 42off.; Kalhavatthu, pp. 97, 559. 

8 See Buddhavamsa Comm., p. 3; Digha Nikdya, II, p. 141. 

9 Malalasekcra, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, s.v. Isipatana. 

10 E.g. Vinava Pitaka (ed. Oldenbeig), I, p. 151.; Dipavamsa, pp. 119-20; Theft- 
gdthd Comm., p. 220; Anguttara Nikdya, I, pp. noff., 279-80; III, pp. 39 2ff " 399 fi *> 
Samyutta Nikdya, I, pp. 105-6; V, pp. 406-8. 

THE KA&IS 115 

Some of the most eminent members of the Buddhist community 
seem to have resided at Isipatana from time to time ; among recorded 
conversations at Isipatana are several between Sariputta and Maha- 
kotthita, 1 and one between Mahakotthita and Citta-Hatthi- 
sariputta. a 

According to the Mahavamsa, there was a large community of 
monks at Isipatana in the second century B.C. For we are told that 
at the foundation ceremony of the Malm Thupa in Anuradhapura, 
twelve thousand monks from Isipatana were present. 8 Isipatana 
was still a monastic centre in Hsiian-Tsang's time, for he found 
1,500 monks studying the Hinayana there. 1 He quotes the Nigrodha- 
miga Jataka {Jat., I, 145m) to account for the origin of the Migadaya 
or Deer Park at Isipatana. According to him, the Deer Park 
was the forest which was given by the king of Benares for the deer 
to wander in it unmolested. 

Isipatana is identified with the modern Saranath, six miles from 
Benares. Cunningham" found the Migadaya represented by a fine 
wood, covering an area of about half a mile, extending from the 
great tomb of Dhamek on the north to the Chaukundi mound on 
the south. 

Near Benares, too, was a grove of seven sirisaka-trees where 
the Buddha preached to the Naga-king Erakapatta " ; and also the 
Khemiyambavana where Udena met Ghotamukha. 7 On the other 
side of "the river was Vasabhagama, and beyond that another village 
called Cundatthila. 8 The Buddha is several times spoken of as 
staying in Benares, where he preached several sermons, and con- 
verted many people, including Yasa, whose home was in Benares, 10 
and his friends Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji and Gavampati, all 
members of eminent families. 11 

In the Buddha's time, the Santhagarasala (Council-Hall) of 
Benares was no longer being used so much for the transaction of 
public business as for public discussion on religious and philosophical 

' Samyulta Nikaya, II, pp. 112-14; III, pp. 167-9, 173-7; IV. pp. 384-6' 

2 Angutlara Nikaya, ITT, p. 3921E. s Mahavamsa, XXIX, p. 31. 

4 Beal, Records of the Western World, II, pp. 45ff. 

5 Arch. Reports, I, p. 107. 

fi Dhammap>ada Comm., Ill, p. 230. 

7 Majjhima Nikaya, II, p. 157. 

a Petavaithu Comm., p. 168; B. C. Law, India as described in early texts of 
Buddhism and Jainism, p. 42 ; see also Barua and Sinha, Barhat Inscriptions. 

s E.g. Angiittant Nikaya, I, pp. not, 279!.; Ill, pp. 392I-, 399 f - Samyulta 
Nikaya, I, p. 105; V, p. 406; Vtnaya Pitaka, I, pp. 189, 2161., 289; Samantapasadika 
(P.T.S.), I, p. 201. 

10 Vtnaya Pitaka, I, p. 15. u *&*<*-. P- J 9- 


questions. 1 Ascetics who came to the city found lodging for the 
night in the Potters' Hall. 2 

Many venerable Buddhist monks, e.g. Sariputta, Mahamog- 
gallana, Mahakaccana, Mahakotthita, Mahacunda, Anuruddha, 
Revata, Upali, Ananda and Rahula journeyed through the country of 
Kasi. 3 The Buddha's converts in Benares included AddhakasI, the 
daughter of a rich banker of Kasi, who became a courtesan, whose 
fee was fixed by the king at half of the daily income of Kail (this 
explains her name, AddhakasI). After her conversion by the 
Buddha, AddhakasI is said to have become an arahat. 4 For^other 
references to nuns who were connected with Kail, see, e.g. Thengathd 
Comm., p. 106 and pp. 151-2. Elsewhere in the same work (pp. 71-2) 
it is said that Bhadda Kapilam became the chief queen of the king 
of Benares on account of her approving the offering of cloth to the 
Buddha in a previous birth. 

1 E.g. Jataka, IV, p. 74. 2 E.g. Dhammapada Comm., I, p. 39. 

s Vinaya Texts, Vt. II, pp. 359-60. 

* Thengathd Comm., pp. 30-1. See also Vinaya Texts, III, p. 360, n. 3; II, 
pp. 195-6, n. 3. 


In the earliest Vedie literature, no mention is made of Kosala 
as the name of a people. It is only in some of the later Vedic works, 
like the Satapatha Brahmana and the Kalpasutras, that we find Kosala 
referred to as a country. Kosala is also mentioned in the Pah 
Buddhist literature as one of the sixteen great countries {Mahajana- 
paias) of Jambudlpa or India. 1 Panini, too, mentions Kosala m one 
of his Sutras.* In the Althasdlini,' mention is made of Kosala as 
one of the great Ksatriya tribes in Buddha's time.* 

Kosala lay to 'the east of the Kurus and Paficalas, and to the 
west of the Videhas, from whom it was separated by the river Sada- 
nira, probably the great Gandak.« In the Cambridge History of 
India 9 we read that the northern frontier of Kosala must have been 
in the hills in what is now Nepal; its southern boundary was the 
Ganges- and its eastern boundary was the eastern limit of the 
Sakya territory. According to Macdonell and Keith, Kosala lay 
to the north-east of the Ganges, and corresponds roughly to the 
modern Oudh' Rhys Davids states that the Kosalas were the 
ruling clan in the kingdom whose capital was Savatthi (Sravasti), 
in what is now Nepal, seventy miles north-west of the modern 
Gorakhpur. He thinks that it included Benares and Saketa, and 
probably had the Ganges for its southern, the Gandak for its eastern, 
and the' mountains for its northern boundary. 3 

In the Cambridge History of India,' we read that the Kosalans 
were almost certainly of the Aryan race, in the main at least. They 
belonged to the solar family, and were supposed to have derived 
directly from Manu through Iksvaku. A family of princes bearing 
this name is known from Vedic literature, and it is quite possible 

i Angottara NikSya, Vol. I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260; cf. Vinupvref*. 
Chap. IV, Amsa 4. 

3 Khuddakafiatha Comm., pp. 110-11; cf. Papancas&danl (P.T.S.), Vol. I, 
pp. 59-60. Kosala' is mentioned as a beautiful place, attractive, pleasant. Ml ot 
good things, and prosperous as the home of the gods. 

J gSSZ&g-lEk Vo>. I, p. 308: cf. «., p. 1.7, and Itapson, 

A "%l?i"fi> ilS ° """" B "'"""°- "• "' "V,iic /«*«, Vol. I, p. I9 o. 
• Buidkdlniia, p. 25. • Vol. I, p. 190. 


that the solar dynasties of Kosala and other kingdoms to the east 
of the middle country were descended from this family. If so, 
Iksvaku must be regarded as an eponymous ancestor; and as his 
superhuman origin had to be explained, a myth founded on a far- 
fetched etymology of his name was invented, viz. that he was so 
called because he was born from the sneeze of Manu.> Vedlc 
literature points out that the Iksvakus were originally a branch 
of the Purus.* Kosala is known to the Buddhists as the land of the 
Kosala princes,' tracing their descent from Iksvaku. The descent 
of those ruling princes of Kosala from Iksvaku is borne out by the 
genealogies in the Ramayana as well as the Puranas.' Buddhaghosa 
narrates an anecdote giving a fancifld origin of the name of Kosala, 
from 'kusala' (well, healthy, in good condition). 5 

In the ialafatha Brakmana (I, 4, «). the Kosala-\ idehas 
appear as coming later than the Kuru-Pancalas under the influence 
of Brahmanism. In the same work," the Kausalya or Kosala king, 
Para-atnara Hiranvanabha, is described as having performed the 
great Asvamedha 'or horse sacrifice. Hiranvanabha Kausalya and 
Asvalavana Kausalya figure in the PraSna Upamsad (i, i) as two 
contemporary- seekers of truth belonging to Kosala. The connection 
between Hiranvanabha of the Praina and Para-atnara Hiranyanabha 
of the Salapalha is uncertain.* A passage in the Sdnkhyayana Srauta 
Siiira (XVI, 9, 13) shows the connection of Kosala with Kasi and 

It is in the Epic period that Kosala emerges into importance. 
The scene of action of the Ramayana is in Kosala, the princes of 
which country carried Aryan civilisation to the south as far as the 
island of Ceylon. Pargiter observes that it is remarkable that m 
the Ramayana the friendliest relations of Kosala were with the 
eastern kingdoms of Videha, Anga and Magadha, the Punjab king- 
doms of Kekaya, Sindhu and Sauvira, the western kingdom of 
Surastra, and the Daksinatya kings, for these are especially named 
among the monarchs who were invited to Dasaratha's sacrifice 
and no mention is made of any of the kings of the middle region of 
N. India except Kasi. 8 Pargiter is of the opinion that it was under 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 305. 

2 ibid., p. 308. s Sumangalavildstni, I, p. 239- 
* Ray Chaudluiri's Political History, 4th Ed., p. 86. 

5 SuTnangaiavildsim, I, 239. 6 XIII, 5, 4, 4. 

i In the d\ nastie list »i kar.^s, occurring in the Ptinmas of doubtful authority, 
Hiranyanabha is mentioned as the immediate predecessor of Prasenajit (Pascuadi) 
who 'was a contemporary of Buddha. According to Buddhist tradition, Mana- 
kosala was the father and immediate predecessor of Pasenadi. 

® Ancient Indian H 'clerical '1'racistwn, p. 276. 


King Dilipa II and his immediate descendants that the country 
acquired the name of Kosala. 1 

We may form some idea of the extent of the Kosala country 
in the Epic period from the story of the exile of Rama. Therein 
we find that after setting out from Ayodhya (then the capital of 
Kosala) the young princes accompanied by Sita proceeded in a 
chariot ' Evidently, then, there were good roads in the Kosala 
country as we may also gather from the Jataka stones, where we 
read that merchants loading as many as 500 wagons with their 
merchandise went from Magadha and the Llcchavi countries through 
Kosala up to the western and north-western frontiers of India. 
Rama made his first halt at the river Tamasa (the modern Tons). 
On the other side of the Tatnasa, his chariot reached the Mahamarga 
or the 'great road', which was evidently a trade-route. Following 
this the partv reached the river Srimati Mahanadi. After crossing 
the 'river Vedasruti, Rama turned his course towards the south. 
After proceeding a long distance, he crossed the Gomati and the 
Svandika Having crossed the Syandika, Rama pointed out to 
Sita the wide plain given by Manu to Iksvaku. This region was 
evidentlv considered by the people of Kosala as the cradle of their 
race the country with which Iksvaku began his career of conquest. 
This countrv was highly prosperous (sphita) and populous (radranta) 
Proceeding "through the extensive Kosalan plains, Rama left behind 
him the country of the Kosalas, and reached the Ganges, up to which 
river the Kosala dominion evidently extended. Here he arrived 
at Srngaverapura which was the seat of the ^isada king Guha. 
Sir Alexander^ Cunningham has identified Srngaverapura with the 
modern Singror or Singor on the left bank of the Ganges and 22 miles 
to the north-west of Prayaga or Allahabad.' 

In the Idiiarvan of the Mahdbhdrata' we read that Janatne- 
iaya, one of the earliest kings of the Paurava family, was the son of 
Pura and Kausalya. Most probably this Kausalya was the daughter 
of a king of Kosala. When Yudhisthira was about to perform his 
Rajasuya sacrifice, setting himself up as paramount sovereign over 
the whole of N. India, and his brothers went out on their 
expeditions of conquest, it is said that Arjuna, Krsna and Bhima 
fartSTom°the Kuru kingdom and reached after crossing 
™-irva (eastern) Kosala* Afterwards, the second Pandava brother, 
C^fgncr^Bthacaala, k ^otK o&ila,' aad this arhad- 

^rt^st^Kd^rr. kU .^.' 

Rama's exile, see Pargita, J.R.A.S.. 1894, pp. 231 " *?• 


bala attended the Rajasuya sacrifice. 1 Karna, too, conquered Kosala 
and proceeded southwards after exacting tribute from the country. 2 
Evidently the conquest of Kosala by Karna was later than that by 
Bhimasena, for we find the Kosala king Brhadbala, led by Duryo- 
dhana, marching against the Pandavas. 3 Perhaps it was because the 
Kosalas were smarting under the defeat inflicted on them by Bhima- 
sena that they embraced the Kaurava side in the Kuruksetra war, 
in the course of which we find ten warriors including King Brhadbala 
of Kosala fighting in the van of the Kuru army. 4 Brhadbala 
fought with Abhimanyu against whom the greatest leaders of the 
Kuru army led a united attack 5 ; and in the Karnaparvan 6 we read 
that Brhadbala was killed by Abhimanyu. Suksetra, the son of 
the king of Kosala, also fought in the great war between the Kurus 
and the Pandavas. 7 After the war was ended, Kosala was again 
attacked and" conquered by Arjuna before the performance of the 
Asvamedha bv Yudhisthira. 8 

As in the" Epics, so also in the Puranas, the Kosalas are given 
great prominence among the Aryan Ksatriya tribes of N. 
India. According to Purana and Epic accounts, the Kosala line of 
kings derived from Iksvaku produced a large number of sovereigns 
who held the glory of the family very liigh, and some of them, like 
Mandhata, Sagara, Bhagiratha and Ragliu, occupied the highest 
position amongst the kings of ancient India. 

Most of the Puranas fl state that Iksvaku had a large number 
of sons who divided the whole of India amongst themselves. The 
Visnupurana says that Iksvaku had a hundred sons of whom fifty, 
with Sakuni at their head, became the protectors of N. India, and 
forty-eight established themselves as rulers over S. India." The 
Vayufiurana says that it was not the sons of Iksvaku who divided the 
country among themselves; but the children of Iksvaku's son Vikuksi. 
Though the number of Iksvaku's immediate descendants as given 
in the Puranas is obviously" fanciful, yet it seems worthy of credence 
that the family sprung from Iksvaku spread their rule far and wide 
over India, as many of the ruling families of India trace their descent 
to him. 

i Sabhaparvan, Chap. 34, p. 545. 2 V anaparvan , Chap. 253, p. 513. 

3 Udyogaparvan, Chap. 97, p. 807. 

* Bhismaparvan, Chap. r6, pp. 827-8. 

5 Ibid., Chap. 45, p. 916. See also ibid.. Chap. 57, pp. 924-5; Chap. 87, p. 957. 

8 Chap. 5, pp. 1167-8. 

7 Dronaparvan, Chap. 22, pp. 1012-13. 

8 ASvamedhaparvan, Chap. 42, p. 2093. 

fl E.g., Visnupurana, IV, 2, 3; Vayupurana, 88, 8-11. 
10 Visnupurana, IV, 2, 3. 


The Puranas state that Vikuksi incurred the displeasure of his 
father Tksvakil, by the violation of some ceremonial rule, but later 
ascended the throne and reigned according to law and custom 
(dharmatah). A mythical story is related of the next king, Paran- 
aya It is said that his aid was sought after by the Devas who 
were hard pressed by the Asnras; but the king imposed the condition 
that he would do so if borne on the shoulders of Indra himself, the 
king thus obtained the name of Kakutstha. ' 

Sixth in descent from Kakutstha was King Sravasta, the founder 
of the city of Sravasti 1 which afterwards became the capital of 
northern Kosala. Sravasta's grandson, Kuvalayasya, is credited 
with the overthrowing of an Asura, Dhundhu, which seems to 
signify the control of a natural phenomenon. According to the 
account given in the Puranas and the Mahabharata? the Rsi Utanka 
complained to king Brhadasva that his hermitage, which was situated 
on the sea-coast in the west, was disturbed by the Asura Dhundhu, 
who caused him much trouble, from a subterranean retreat (untar- 
bhimigalah). From the description that follows, it is manifest 
that this subterranean retreat [asura) was really a small volcanic 
rot near the western sea-coast which occasionally caused earthquakes 
and emitted smoke, ashes and fire. The old king Brhadasva sent 
his son Kuvalayasya to destroy the 'asura . The prince went to 
the spot with an army of 21,000 men, who are said to be his sons, 
and whom he set to dig up the earth all around. After the excavation 
had proceeded for a week, the flaming body of D luiidhu became 
visible to all, but with disastrous consequences to the soldiers, who 
perished in the smoke and flames, only three surviving. The ex- 
cavation, however, appears to have opened a subterranean channel or 
reservoir of water, which rushed into the volcanic pit and extin- 
guished it for ever; for we read that after Dhundhu had reduced 
to ashes the 21,000 sons of Kuvalayasva, streams of water flowed 
out of his body, and by means of this water the pnnce put out the 
fire, and acquired the appellation of Dhundhumara for this aclueve- 

™ m A few generations after Kuvalayasva came the great monarch, 
Mandhata, who became a cakravartin or emperor exercising^ suzeram 
sway. In Mandhata's dominions, it was said the sun never set 
'From where the sun rises to where it sets, all this is the land of 
Minuhata, the son of Yuvanasva.- • As in the cases of ^tearf 
Kakutstha, fanciful stories based on a literal de nvation the n une 
narrated in the Puranas, which state that the name Mandhata was 


. 2 Vanaparvan, Chaps. 201-3, 


due to what Indra said * when the prince was born. The Bhagi 
purdna adds that Mandhata acquired the designation of Trasadasyu 
on account of the fear that he struck into the minds of the Dasyus. 
Mandhata's daughters were given in marriage to the Rsi Sauvari, 
and Purukutsa, one of the king's sons, married a Naga girl (evidently 
a girl of a non- Aryan tribe). 

Trasadasyu, the son of this Naga queen, ascended the throne 
on his father's death. His son Anaranya is said to have been killed 
by Ravana. Several generations after this, Prince Satyavrata, son 
of the Kosala king, Trayyaruna, was in disfavour with his father as 
well as with the family priest Vasistha, and was given the name of 
Trisanku. Vasistha's rival, Visvamitra, however, espoused his cause, 
and placed Mm' on the throne of Kosala. Trisanku's son Hans- 
candra was a very great monarch of the Kosalas; he celebrated 
a Rajasuya sacrifice and became famous as a sarnrat or emperor. 8 
The story of how Hariscandra promised to sacrifice his son to Varuna, 
and how finally Sunahsepa, a Brahman lad, was sacrificed instead, is 
told in the Aitarsya Brdhmana and Bhagavatapurana. The latter 
also adds that there was a long-standing quarrel between Vasistha 
and Visvamitra over this Kosala king Hariscandra. The 
Mahahharaia* also speaks of the surpassing glories of King 
Hariscandra of Kosala. 

With Vahn, who came to the throne of Kosala several genera- 
tions after Hariscandra, the Kosala power suffered a great reverse. 
Vahu was defeated by his enemies, a confederacy of the Haihayas, 
Talajanghas and other allied Ksatriya tribes, and was forced to 
abdicate. He repaired to the forest where after his death his wife 
gave birth to a son, who was reared with great care by Rsi Aurva, 
near whose hermitage the king had taken refuge and built his wood- 
land home. This young prince, Sagara, had in him the making of a 
great king, and when he came of age he sought to revive the glories of 
Kosala and place it once more in the high position of suzerain 
power in India. Sagara almost exterminated the Haihayas. A 
fanciful Purana story says that Sagara had one son Asamanjas by 
one of his queens, and sixty thousand sons by another. Abandoning 
Asamanjas on account of his bad conduct; Sagara employed the sixty 
thousand sons to defend against all aggressors the horse of the 
Asvamedha in its unbridled career over the earth. In the course of 
their journey, they insulted Rsi Kapila, and, as a result, they were 
reduced to ashes by him. Sagara then sent Asamanjas' son, 

1 'Mam dhdta.'he will suck me'. 

2 Vay'upurana, Chap. 88, verse 118. 

a III, Chap. i2. See also Mbh., Amtsdsanaparmm, XIII, 65; XII, 20, XIII, 3- 


Amsuman, in quest of the horse; he appeased the wrath of Kapila, 
succeeded in bringing back the horse, and obtained a promise from 
the Rsi that his uncles would be purged of their sins when his 
grandson would bring down the heavenly Ganges to the pit which 
the uncles had excavated in their search for the horse. Thus the 
sacrifice was completed by Sagara who, pleased by the achievements 
of Amsuman, made over the Kosala throne to his son Asamanjas. 

The grandson of Amsuman was the great Bhaglratha who made 
his prowess felt far arid wide and became a cakravartin, as the 
Mahibharaia ' tells us. A pretty story is told of him, in connection 
with the origin of the Ganges. Coming to know of his duty of 
rescuing his ancestors from their evil fate, Bhaglratha left the 
government of his vast empire in the hands of his ministers and 
succeeded by the severest penances in bringing the divine river 
down from the Himalayas, and thus filled up the pit excavated by 
his ancestors. The holy stream thereby acquired the designation 
of 'Bhagirathi'. 2 . 

Further down in the list of Kosala sovereigns, we meet with 
Rtuparna who was a contemporary of the celebrated Vidarbha 
monarch, Nala. Rtuparna employed Nab as his charioteer when 
the latter suffered a reverse of fortune, and taught Nala the secret 
art of dice-playing, acquiring from him in exchange the- science of 
training horses. 8 Rtuparna's son was Sudasa who is identified by 
some with the king' of the'same name in the Rgvcda. Sudasa's son 
was Mitrasaha Saudasa,' who became famous afterwards as 

It 'is said in the Puranas that when Parasurama was carrying 
out his terrible vow of exterminating the Ksatriyas, Valika, grandson 
of Saudasa, was saved from his wrath by being surrounded by a 
number of naked women. He thus became known as Narikavaca, 
ie "protected bv women,' and, as he was the source (miWo) from 
which future generations of Ksatriyas sprang up, he also acquired 
the designation of Mulaka (see Mulaka chapter). 

In the fourth generation after Mulaka, we come to a Kosala 
sovereign Khatvanga who is spoken of as a samrat whose great 
prowess led to the gods asking him to help them in their fight with 
the Asuras.> The BMgavatapurana (IX, 9) adds that Khatvanga, 
within the remaining short period of his Me, devoted himself to 
meditation on the supreme spirit with such zeal as to obtain hberation 

1 «&»*««■ (I, 3^44) «»i Mahabkarala (HI, B*-?! 8™ th « sto T « S reat 
""^HfcHM*-, HI, 7 .S. * S" Afamfc, chapter. 

5 Vi$tu?pwSna- Iv - 4, 39- 


Imoksa). Khatvahga's grandson was the great Raghn, and Raghu's 
grandson was Dasaratha, the father of Rama, m whom the glory 
of the Kosalan royal house reached its culmination. 

After Rama, the extensive Kosalan empire is said to have been 
divided amongst the sons of himself and his three brothers. The 
sons of the youngest brother, Satmghna, ruled at Mathura; the 
sons of Laksmana established two kingdoms in the far north, m the 
neighbourhood of the Himalayas, while Bharata's sons founded the 
cities of Taksaslla and Puskaravati in the Gandhara country, as the 
Vavitpurana' tells us. The Kosala country proper is said to have 
been divided into two. In southern Kosala, Kusa, the elder of the two 
sons of Rama, became king, and transferred his capital from Ayodhya 
to Kusasthali which he built on the Vindhya range. 2 l>va, the 
younger became the ruler of the northern Kosala country and set 
up his capital at the city of Saravati or Sravasti which was still the 
seat of the Kosala sovereigns in the Buddha's time. 

Among the kings that followed Kusa in the mam line of the 
Kosala monarchs we do not meet with any great name until we come 
to Hiranvanabha Kausalya who is said to have been a disciple 
of Rsi Jaimini, from whom he learnt the science of Yoga, and 
imparted it in his turn to Yajfiavalkya.' This distinction of profi- 
ciency in the Yogasastra is, however, transferred by some of the 
Puranas to Hiranvanabha's son, whom the Vayupurdna 4 calls 
Vasistha, and the 'Vismtpurana* Pusya. The fifth in descent from 
Pusya was Maru or Manu who is said to be living m the village of 
Kalapa in a state of yoga, waiting to be the progenitor of the 
Ksatriyas in the next cycle. Several generations down from this 
monarch was Brhadbala who led the Kosala troops to the Kuruksetra 

Many of the Puranas end their enumeration of the Kosala kings 
with Brhadbala. while'some others, like the Bkagavatti,' add a few 
more names of men who are called the future kings of the Iksvaku 
family. The Vayupurina also in a later chapter (Chap. 99) gives 
a list of the kings in the Iksvaku line after Brhadbala, whom it calls 
here Brhadratha. Five generations after 'this Brhadratha, the 
Vayuptirana savs that Divakara ' is at present ruling the city of 
Ayodhya',' and after Divakara it speaks of the so-called future 
kings of the line. This list is substantially the same as the one in 
the BMgavata, and one peculiar feature of these lists is that they 

1 88, r8g-90. 

! Vayupurdna, 88. 19S : 'Vindhyti-pavvaUt-sanusu.' 

1 Bh^:':<ni-pf<m»«, IX, 12. * Rs . 207-8. 

I IV, 4, 48. * Ix ' "• Il> - 


include Suddhodana and Rahula, of Buddhist fame. The list in 
the Matsyapumna (Chap. 12) from Kusa to the Bharata war is 
considerably shorter than the others already referred to. It speaks 
of Srutaya as the king who fell in the Bharata war. 

The history of Kosala in later times is known chiefly from 
Jaina and Buddhist literature. In the Jaina Kalpasutra we read 
that on the death of Mahavira, the eignteen confederate kings of 
Kasi and Kosala, the nine Mallakis and nine Licchavis, on the 
day of the new-moon instituted an illumination on the Posada (fasting 
day) 1 . Jacobi observes 2 : 'According to the Jamas, the Licchavis 
and the Mallakis were the chiefs of Kasi and Kosala. They seem to 
have succeeded the Aiksvakas who ruled there in the time of the 

The Pali Buddhist literature is full of information about Kosala, 
which occupied a very prominent position at the time of the Buddha, 
though it was already being eclipsed by the growing power of 

" The Pali legends preserve the memory of kings of Kosala such 
as Kalasena, Dighiti, Dighayu, Mallika and Vatika. One of these 
had his capital at Ayodhya, some at Saketa and the rest at Sravasti. 3 
No connected chronology of Kosalan kings can as yet be made out 
of these stray names; but the legends are nevertheless important, 
first, as clearly indicating a succession of three capitals in the kingdom 
of Kosala Ayodhya, Saketa and Sravasti; and, secondly, as broadly 
outlining 'the four main stages in the historical process which cul- 
minated at about the time of the rise of Buddhism m the unquestioned 
supremacy of Kosala over Kasi. 

With regard to the first of these questions, we have already 
seen that Ayodhva is mentioned in the Ramdyana as the earlier 
capital of Kosala' and Sravasti as its later capital. 4 Ayodhya was 
an unimportant town in Buddha's time, while both Saketa and 
Sravasti stood out prominently among the six great cities of India. 6 

The story of the rivalry between Kasi and Kosala has already 
been treated at some length in our chapter on the Kasis, so that a 
summary will suffice here. In the first stage, as brought out m the 
canonical legend of Dighiti and his son Dighayu Kumara, King 
Brahmadatta appears as the powerful king of Kasi invading the 
kingdom of Kosala, led by a love of conquest, easily defeating the 
Kosalan king Dighiti, and ordering the execution of the Kosalan 

1 Kalpasutra, §128, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, p. 266. 

* Jaina Sutras, Pt. II, p. 321, n. 3. 

» -Ray Chzudbuns Political History, 4th EtL, p. 90. 

* Ibid p 90. Cf. Gkaia Jataka (No. 4 54i ^d Santtiy*miRa Jtdaka (-No. 3*3}- 
s Digha Nikaya, II, p. 146. Ray Chaudhmi, op. at., p. 90. 


king and queen when they were detected in the realm of Kasi living 
harnilesslv in disguise.' We then see how the Kosalan prince 
DMiayu 'after having gained the favour of the fang of Kasl and 
risln to the position of a general, tried to avenge his parents, and 
was re-established in his father's kingdom." 

In the second stage, as portrayed in the Rajovada Jataka 
(Fausboll No. 3 54), Kasi and Kosala appear as two equally powerful 
kingdoms', flourishing side by side, each with its inner circle, outer 
districts, and border-lands, one ruled over by its king Brahmadatta, 
and the other by King Mallika. We see the ruler of Kasi following 
the religious principle of 'conquering wrath by wrathlessness 
lahkodhcn.i line koiham), and the ruler of Kosala following the 
strong administrative principle of 'applying hardness for the hard 
and softness for the soft' (Uliiti ialhassa khipatt Mulhko muduna 

In the third stage, as disclosed mtheMahasilavaJataka (Fausboh, 
No -ii) the king of Kosala appears as taking advantage of the good- 
ness' of the king of Kasi and invading the neighbouring kingdom, 
and the king of Kasi as remaining passive in the consciousness 
of his superior dignity and religious security." 

Finally in the fourth stage, Kail was absorbed by Kosala, and 
we find King Mahakosala, father and immediate predecessor of 
Pasenadi, wielding sovereign power over the extended realm ot 
KSsi-Kosala. Mahakosala gave his daughter Kosaladevl in marriage 
to King Bimbisara of Magadha, and gave her a village in Kasi yielding 
a revenue of a hundred thousand for bath and perfume money.' 
When Ajatasatru put his father Bimbisara to death, Kosaladevl 
died of grief. For some time after her death, Ajatasatru continued 
to enjoy the revenues of the village, but Pasenadi, king of Kosala, 
resolved that no parricide should have a village which had been 
given to his sister and so confiscated it. A war ensued between 
Ajatasatru and Pasenadi, in which Ajatasatru was at first victorious, 
but was afterwards taken prisoner by the Kosalan king. After 
he had been subdued, however, he was treated generously by Pasenadi 
who gave him his daughter in marriage, and even bestowed the 
disputed village on her as a wedding gift. 6 

1 Vinayj Pituku, M nhfin.'.^gn , pp. 342-9. 

" See also [dlakit, HI, inf., 4S7 ; and Kail chapter of the present work, where 
this story and the similar one of Prince Chatta are dealt with. 

» Jataka (Fausboll), I, 2621.; see also I, 409; Udana Comm., 123: and see 
Kasi chapter. 

* Jalaka, II, p. 337; IV, 342ft 

« Samyulla XikSya, I, pp. S2-5. See Kasi and Magadha chapters, and JalaCa, 
Vol. IV, p. 343. 


In addition to the stories of the rivalry between Ka£i and Kosala 
which we have already dealt with in the Kasi chapter, two more 
may be mentioned,— the stories of Dabbascna, king of Kosala, who 
seized a holy king of Benares, and was discomfited by a mystic 
experience l ; and of Manoja, king of Benares : and a king of Kosala. 
The latter storv is related in the Sonananda Jataka. Manoja pitched 
his camp near "the city of Kosala (i.e. SravastI?), and sent a message 
to the king of Kosala asking him either to give battle or to surrender. 
The king accepted the challenge, and a fierce fight ensued, in which 
the king of Kosala was defeated, but he was allowed to retain his 
kingdom. 2 

From the Jataka stories of the two neighbouring countries of 
Kasi and Kosala, it is evident that there was great mutual jealousy 
between the two kingdoms actuated by a constant spirit of hostility. 
Bach was looking out for an opportunity to inflict a defeat on the 
other, and annex either the whole or at, least a part of the other's 
dominions. vSometimes they also appear to have been connected 
by matrimony, and it is probable that the two countries were united 
sometimes bv conquest and sometimes perhaps by a common heir 
succeeding to the throne of both countries. Even in Vedic times 
they were closely associated, as is shown by the phrase Kasi-Kosala, 
which occurs in Vedic literature. 

In the Dlgha Nikdya we read that Pasenadi, king of Kasi- 
Kosala, used to collect taxes from the inhabitants of these two 
countries. He used to share his income with his subordinates. 
The Mahdvagga, however, mentions a Kasika-raja. (king of Kasi ?) 
who sent a robe to Jivaka. 3 Buddhaghosa says, that he was a 
brother of Pasenadi, and son of the same father.* He was probably 
a sub-king of Pasenadi, 6 who managed to extend his rule so far as to 
reign as a supreme monarch with four sub-kings under him.* Later, 
before the end of Ajatasatru's reign, some parts of Kosala were 
annexed to the kingdom of Magadha, 7 and Kosala finally disappears 
from history as an independent kingdom, evidently being absorbed 
by Magadha. 8 There is nothing surprising about this course of 
events, for, as the Cambridge History of India 9 points out, India 
appeared as a number of kingdoms and republics with a constant 
tendency towards amalgamation. 

i Jataka, III, p. 13. \ »£• V£ ^L ■> 

3 Vi n . y I, 281. 4 Vtnaya Texts, II, 1:95, n. 2. 

s Wala'lasekera, Dictionary of Pali Proper Natnts, s.v. Kaii. 

» See article, ■Kosala', B. C. Law, Indian Culture, Vol. I, No. 3. 

7 Bliandarkar, Carmicluirf Lectures, rgr8, p. 79. 

s Smith, Early History 0/ India, 4th Ed., p. 45. 

9 I, p. 190. 


In the north, the Kosala country bordered on the region occupied 
by the fekyas, and there were mutual jealousies between the two 
peoples often developing into war. When Pasenadi was at the 
height of his power, the Sakyas became his vassals, and he received 
homage from them." The storv of how Pasenadi acquired a Sakyan 
bride (Mallika a Vasabhakkattiya) has been related m our Sakya 
chapter Pasenadi had a great admiration for the Buddha, and 
many stories are told of his deahngs with the Buddha and his dis- 
ciples. The king became the Buddha's disciple after meeting him 
at Jetavana. 2 ., „ „ 

Pasenadi was famous for his charity. While Buddha was 
residing at Sravasti in the Srama of Anathapindika at Jetavana, 
the king made gifts for a week on an immense scale. These gifts 
were known as asaiisaiUna (incomparable charity)." The king of 
Kosala provided Kunda-Dhana with ah necessaries when the latter 
left the world after hearing the Buddha preach.' A great preaching 
hall [Saddhamma Makasala) was built by Pasenadi for the Buddha^ 
On another occasion, Pasenadi performed a great sacrifice in which 
500 bulls, 500 calves, 500 goats, and other animals were offered. 
Buddha, when requested to attend, expressed his disapproval of this 
sacrifice, as he was against the taking of life by slaughter. 5 

After the death of his wife, Mallika, Pasenadi went to the Buddha 
at Jetavana, and He consoled him in his grief." Pasenadi was also 
consoled by the Buddha when his grandmother died.' 

The Buddhist texts contain many stories about eminent men 
and women of Kosala, and many of these are in some way asso- 
ciated with Pasenadi. For instance, Mallika, queen of Pasenadi, 
built an arima at the Kosala capital, Sravastl, known as Mallika- 
rama, where the teacher Potthapada went to live.' The Dlgha 
Nikaya tells us that Pokkharasadi, a famous Brahman teacher of 
Kosala, enjoyed some property given to him by Pasenadi. The 
king did not allow him to enter his presence, but used to consult him 
behind a screen. 9 Buddhaghosa also furnishes some details about 
this sage. Pokkharasati or Pokkharasadi, says he, was a Brahmana 
living at Ukkatthanagara, which had been given him by the king of 
Kosala, Pasenadi, as Brahmadeyya (i.e. as a Brahmin's fee). He 
was well versed in the Vedas and in the arts, and the king bestowed 
Ukkatthanagara upon him because he was satisfied by a display 

1 Dlgha Nikaya, II, p. 83. 2 Samyutta Nikaya, I, pp. 68-70. 

" Pithavimdm: VimatwB&H* Comm., pp. 5-6. 

* Psalms of the Brethren, pp. 19-20. 5 Samyutta Nikaya, I, p. 76. 

" Angtittara Nikaya, III, p. 57. 7 Samyutta Nikaya, I, p. 97. 

B Dlgha Nikaya, I, pp. 178S. " Ibid., I, p. 103. 


of his learning.' A certain Aggidatta was the purohita or royal 
chaplain of Mahakosala, father of Pasenadi, and Pasenadr also 
accepted him as his purohita. Later, Moggallana converted 
Aggidatta and his disciples to Buddhism. 2 

Another chaplain of Pasenadi was Bavan who was the son of 
the chaplain of Pasenadi's father. Pasenadi bestowed honour and 
wealth upon Bavan, and learnt the arts (sifM from him m his 
youth Bavan later took ordination and hved in the royal garden, 
many Brahmanas becoming his disciples. Pasenadi served him daily 
with" the four requisites. Afterwards Bavari and his disciples went to 
the Deccan" Pasenadi also invited two prominent merchants, 
Mendakasetthi and Dhanarijayasetthi, to settle in Kosala.* 

The storv of the conversion of the Kosala country to the Buddhist 
faith is told in some detail in the Majjhima Nikaya. Here we read 
that, in the course of his journey over N India on one occasion the 
Buddha was sojourning in Kosala, and went to Sab, a Brahmin 
village of Kosala. The Brahmin householders of Sala went to see 
him and asked him various metaphysical questions which he answered 
to their satisfaction, and they became his life-long disciples.' Once 
the Buddha went to Nagaravinda, a Brahmin village of Kosala 
There many Brahmana householders came to see him, attracted 
by reports of his fame as a great teacher. After listening to his 
preaching, they became converted to the new faith- Another 
Brahmin village visited by the Buddha in Kosala was Venagapura. 
Here too the Brahmana householders went to pay their respects to 
him and talk with him.' Buddha spent much of his time at Sravastl 
and most of his sermons were delivered there. 1 - 

As we have seen, the capital cities of Kosala were Sravast. 
(Pali Savatthi) and Saketa. Many fanciful explanattons of the name 
Savatthi have 'been suggested. For instance, it was said that Savatthi 
was so called because the sage Savattha resided there The author 
of the Pafiaiicasudam holds that everything required bf -taman 
beings is to be found there: hence it is called Savatthi (sabba and 

i SumaiigahnnUlsinl, I, pp. 244-5. 

2 Dhammapada Comm., Ft. Ill, pp. 241ft. 

3 Sultanipata Comm., II, pp. 579=- _, , . or rfif „™™„ t(1 Pasenadi 

mk Tkljj$™mMya, I, pp. 40»ff. For aaothe, story of the Baddta and KofaU. 

see IfS A'.7.«y«, II, PP. is*-. a«d AnffMtr. Nikaya. I, pp. 20,1. 

8 Majjhima Xikava, HI, pp. W&- ..,■(,;„„ v nn isaff 

I AigvtUm Nikaya. I, pp. 180S. See also Samyulta Nikaya, V, pp. 352a. 
a Samyutta Nikaya, V, pp. »afi. 



atthi). 1 According to the Puranas, Sravasti is said to have been 
built by king Sravasta, eighth' in descent from Vivaksu, son of 
Iksvaku. 8 . „ 

Savatthi was situated in what is now the province of Oudh. 1 
It is now known as Maheth of the vihage group Saheth-Maheth on 
the borders of the Gonda and Bahraich districts of the United 

The Pali Buddhist literature is full of facts regarding the glories 
of Savatthi. Many of the Buddha's most edifying discourses 
were delivered at the Kosala capital, which was the place of residence 
of two of the most munificent benefactors of the Buddhist Samgha, 
viz. Anathapindika, the great merchant, and Visakha Migaramata, 
the most liberal-hearted of the ladies figuring in the Buddhist 
literature. Savatthi is mentioned in the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta 
of the Digha Nikaya as a great city. It was the resort of 
many wealthy nobles, Brahmins, heads of houses and believers 
in the Tathagata. In one of the Jatakas we read that there 
was at Savatthi a rich merchant who was worth eighteen crores fi ; 
in another we read that at Savatthi, in the house of Ana.thapin.dika, 
food was always ready for 500 brethren, and the same thing is told 
about Visakha" and the king of Kosala. 8 In the Vimanavatthu we 
read that the Kosalas and especially the inhabitants of Savatthi 
were remarkable for their charity, which, they believed, was one of 
the principal ways of obtaining heavenly bliss. 

References to the connection of the Buddha and his disciples 
with Savatthi are too numerous to be dealt with in full. Some 
famous names in the annals of Buddhism which are associated with 
the Kosalan capital are those of Nandaka, 7 Mahapajapati Gotatni, 9 
Sariputta 9 and Ananda. 10 Savatthi contributed a fair number of 
bhikkhus and bhikkhunis to the Order. For instance, Mahasuvanna, 
a banker of Savatthi, 'had two sons, the elder of whom became a 
bhikkhu under the Buddha and was known as Cakkhupala." Thul- 

1 Papaitcasudam, I, pp. 59-60; B. C. Law, Sravasti in Indian Literature. 
M.A.S.L.No. 50, p. 19- , , „, ™ 

2 Visnupurdna, Chap. 2, Amsa 4; cf. Bhagavatapurana, 9th skaneiha, Ump. 
6, il. 21 ;' Mati^atmrana, Chap. 31, si. 30; Kuymapuramt, Chap. 23, si. 19; Lifiga- 
purdna, Chap. 95. 

s "Efliins, Chinese Buddhism, p. 290. 

* Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p. 51. 5 Jataka, VI, p. 68. . 

* Ibid., IV, p. 144; see also pp. 236-7. 

1 Majjkima Nikaya. Ill, pp. 370ft".; Aiiguttara Nikaya, I, pp. 193!!. 
s Ibid. 

3 Aiiguttara Nikaya, I, pp. 6jff., iiSif. 

1° Ibid., pp. 215*6.; Dlgha Nikaya, I, pp. 204s. 
11 Dhammapada Comm., I, pp. 3ft. 


latissa, the Buddha's cousin, lived at Savatthi as a «■&»«•' 
Patacara was the daughter of a rich banker of Savatthi. She after- 
wards became a bhikkhuni.' Kisagotami, also the daughter of a 
setthi of Savatthi, became a bhikkhuni after the death of her only 
child » Nanda, the son of Mahapajapati Gotami, was made a bhikkhu 
by the Buddha at Savatthi,* Others who became bhikkhus were 
Anittliigandhakumara,' Vakkali,« Kahharevata,' VIra,» Kunda- 
dhana • and Ajita.'" In the TherigatM we read that Sumana was 
bom at Savatthi as the sister of the king of Kosaka. She heard the 
Master preach the doctrine to King Pasenadl. She put faith in the 
Buddha, entered the Order, and afterwards became an arahant." In 
the Sultamhata Commentary we read that there lived at Savatthi 
a paribbanka named Pasura who was a great disputant. He held 
discussions with Sariputta, Laludayi and the Buddha, and was 
finally converted to Buddhism. 12 

As we mav rather from the various accounts, there were many 
merchants at Savatthi. They used to go to Videha with cartloads 
of merchandise to sell there, and take Vldehan commodities m 
exchange." Some merchants of Savatthi went to Suvarnabhumi 
in a ship," and others went to the northern regions [UtUrapatha], 
taking with them 500 cartloads of merchandise." 

•fravastl was visited by the two famous Chinese Pilgrims 
Fa-Hien, and Hsiian Tsang, but the glories of the once splendid 
capital of Kosala had departed at the time of their visit When 
Fa Hien went to Sravasti (in the fifth century A.D.) the inhabitants 
of the city were few, amounting in all to little more than two hundred 
fimilies The pilgrim refers to King Prasenajit of Kosala, and he 
saw the place where the old vihara of Mahapajapati Gotami was 
built the wells and walls of the house of Anathapindika, and the 
site where Ahgulimala attained arahantship. Topes were built at 

a " ' Cunningham points out on the authority of Hsiian Tsang that 
five centuries after Buddha or one century after Kamska Vikrama- 
ditya king of Sravasti, became a persecutor of the Buddhists and 
the famous Manorhita, author of the VibkasaSastm, committed 
suicideXr being defeated in argument by the Brahmanas. During 
the "eign of Vikramaditya's succ essor, the Brahmanas were over- 

* Ibtd., I, pp. Hon. r» B Ibid 

1 Psalm:; of t!i,: Brethren, p. 7- J0 Ibid p 25 

', S^/K. : S «, pp. 1^0. - S T «P*. C~, ttjr . 5JM. 

I! ?ti dU " C r' PU °" ° fSi "" a ' « l£. "™* o/f/S.'pp 55-6. 

1S Ibid., p. go. ,wt6a ' 


come by Vasubandhu, the eminent disciple of Manorhita In the 
third century A.D., Sravasti seems to have been under the rule of 
its own kings, for we find Khiradhara and Ms nephew mentioned 
as raias between A.D. 275 and 319. Still later, Sravasti was a 
dependency of the powerful Gupta dynasty of Magadha, as the 
neighbouring city of Saketa is especially said to have belonged to 
the Guptas. From this time Sravasti gradually declined. 

A famous Buddhist site at Sravasti was the Jetavana, where 
Anathapindika built a vihara which was originally of seven storeys. 
This vihara was dedicated to Buddha and the Buddhist Church 
by Prince Jeta. 1 , 

In later times, North Kosala itself came to be known as Sravasti 
in order to distinguish it from South Kosala. Hsiian Tsang, who 
visited India in the seventh century A.D., says that Sravasti, i.e. 
North Kosala, was about 600 li in circuit. Although it was mostly 
in ruins there were some inhabitants. The country had good crops 
and an 'equable climate, and the people were honest in their ways, 
and given to learning, and fond of good works. There were some 
hundreds of Buddhist monasteries, most of which were in ruins. 
The brethren, who were very few, were Sammatiyas. There were a 
hundred deva-temples, and the non-Buddhists were very numerous. . 
The preaching hall built by Pasenadi for the Buddha still survived, 
and there were several topes, 2 many Buddhist monasteries, and many 
Mahayanist brethren. 3 

Another important town of Kosala was Saketa, which was the 
capital in the period immediately preaching the Buddha's time. 4 
The road from Saketa to Sravasti was haunted by robbers, who were 
dangerous to passers-by. Even the bhikkhus, who had very little 
in their possession, were robbed of their belongings and sometimes 
killed by the robbers. Royal soldiers used to come to the spot 
where robbery was committed, and used to kill those robbers whom 
thev could arrest. 5 

" Besides Savatthi and Saketa, we find mention of other towns 
in the Kosala country, e.g. Dandakappaka, Nalakapana, Setavya 
and Pankadha. Once the Buddha gave a discourse to Ananda at 
Dandakappa, 6 and he also visited Nalakapana, where he dwelt at 
Palasavana, and gave religious instruction to the bhikkhus on an 
uposatha night, 7 On another occasion Kumarakassapa went to 
g etavya .^k a i ar ge number of bhikkhus. The chief of Setavya, 

1 Legge, Travels of Fa-Hien, pp. 56-7; Kkuddakapatha Comm., pp. 110-2. 

2 Walters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. I, p. 377. 3 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 200. 
* Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p- 5*. 5 Vinaya Texts, Pt. I, pp. 220-1. 
» Anguttam Nikdya, III, pp. $&&. 7 Ibid., V, pp. 1226. 


Piiyasi, enjoyed enormous wealth which had been given him by King 
Pasenadi. He was a false believer, but was converted by Kutnara- 
kassapa. 1 The Buddha visited Pahkadha, and gave instruction to 
Kassapagotta, a bhikkhu who was dwelling there. 8 

In the Samyutta Nikaya ■ we find mention of a village named 
Toranavatthu, between Savatthi and Saketa. In this village, the 
bhikkhuni Khema was observing lent, when Pasenadi spent one 
night there on his way from Saketa to Savatthi. Hearing of Khema, 
he went to her, and she answered to his satisfaction questions 
regarding life after death. 4 

The Jatakas and Vinaya texts are full of details about Kosala. 
In one Jataka there is a vivid description of a drought m Kosala, 
when the crops were withered, and ponds, tanks and lakes were 
dried up. B Gangs of burglars, highwaymen and murderers were not 
unknown in Kosala,' and the inhabitants were often earned away 
and killed by them. 1 Their activities could not easily be checked 
for the Kosala country included the forest-clad hills and valleys of 
the outer spurs of the Himalayas. 

In the Pahbajja Sutlanta of the Suttamfata (p. 73), we read 
that the inhabitants of Kosala were healthy and powerful. One 
Jataka storv 1 says that in Kosala there was a Brahmin who by 
simply smeliing a sword could say whether it was lucky or not. 

The Kosalan kings and princes received a good education, 
usually being 'finished' at Taxila. For instance, m the Brahachatta 
Jataka we read that Chatta, a son of the king of Kosala fled to 
Taxila when his father was taken prisoner, and there he mastered the 
three Vedas and eighteen vijjas. While at Taxila he also learnt the 
science of discovering hidden treasure, and on his return he acquired 
his deceased father's buried wealth, engaged troops and reconquered 
the lost kingdom.' King Pasenadi was also educated at Taxila; 
Mahali, a Ijcchavi prince, and a Malla prmce of Kusmara were his 

Rhys Davids points out « that a conversational dialect, probably 
based on the local dialect of Sravasti, was in general use among 
Kosala officials, among merchants and among the more cultured 
classes not only throughout the Kosala dominions but east and west 

Vinaya Texts, Pt. I, p. 312- * !&**• Vol. I, p. 4.5- 

» Ibid., Vol. in, pp. 115- 6 - 
i" Dhammapada Comip... I't. I, pp. 337" ; 
» Rhvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. 153. 


from Delhi to Patna, and north and south from Sravasti to Avanti. 
Tacobi observes that the Ramayana was composed m Kosala on the 
oasis of ballads popularly recited by rhapsodists throughout the 
district. Kosala was also the very- centre of Buddhist hterary 
activity. 1 

1 Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 183. 


The Vasas or Vatsas were one of the peoples of Vedic Aryandom 
from the earliest period. A certain Vasa Asvya is mentioned in 
several hymns of the first and eighth mandalas of the Rgveda, and 
also once in the tenth, as a protege of the Asvins. 1 He is also men- 
tioned in the SMkhdyana $rauta Sutra? It would seem that this 
Vasa Asvya was a Brahmin Rsi and not a Ksatriya. He is said to 
have been the author of the Vasa hymn in the Brahmanas and the 
Aranyakas* It is possible to take Vasa as a personal name, but it 
is equally likely that Vasa here is a tribal designation and Asvya 
the personal proper name. 

Vasa is mentioned as the name of a people in the Aitareya 
Brahmana 4 which says, ' . . .Therefore, in this firm middle established 
quarter (Dhruva-madhyama) , whatever kings there are of the Kuru- 
Pancalas with the Vasas and Usinaras, they are anointed for king- 
ship ..." Here we observe that the Vasas are spoken of as one of the 
Vedic tribes living in the Dhruva-madhyama dik or the Madhya- 
desa of Manu, along with the Kurus, Pancalas and Usinaras. Their 
connection with this last tribe appears also to be proved by the 
Gofiatha Brahmana (I, 2, 9) where Oldeuberg reads Sa-vasa-Uslnaresu 
instead of Savasa in the printed edition. In the KausUaki Uftamsad, 
too 6 we have mention of the Vasas together with the Usinaras, 
Matsyas, Kurus and Pancalas. The Pali Anguttara Nikaya mentions 
the land of the Vamsas (identified by Oldenberg with the Vasas) 
as one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, along with the Cedis, Kurus, 
Pancalas, Matsyas, Surasenas, etc., who appear to have been their 
close neighbours. The J ' anavasabha-Suttanta associates the Vamsas 
rather with the Cedis than with the Usinaras, and mentions _ the 
powerful ruling peoples of the time in such groups as Kasi-Kosala, 
Vaiji-Malla, Cedi-Vamsa, Kuru-Pancala and Maccha-Surasena. 

In the Pali Buddhist canon, King Udena of the Vamsas is said 
to have been a contemporary of the Buddha, and to have survived 
him. Both in Pali Buddhist and in Brahmanic .Sanskrit literature. 

1 R.V., I. T12, 10; 116, 21; VIII, 8, zo; 24, 14; 46, 21, 23; 50, 9; X, 40, 7. 

2 XVI,' 11, 13- - A - , , „ 

a Sutafatiui Brahmana, VIII, 6, 2, 3; IX, 3, 3. 19; Aitareya Amnyaka, I, 5, 1, : 
Sankhayana A., II, 10, 11. 

* VIII, 14, 3. ' 


stories are recited about this King Udena of the Vamsas (Pah) or 
Udayana of the Vatsas (Sanskrit). His capital is mentioned as 
Kosambl or Kausambi respectively, so evidently the Vamsas and 
Vatsas are identical. In the Jaina books the same people are spoken 
of as Vacchas. 1 

The country of the Vamsas or Vatsas must therefore have been 
located round about Kausambi, the position of which has been 
identified by Cunningham with Kosam, not very far from Allahabad. 
According to the Brhalsamhita, the land of the Vatsas was m the 
middle region. It probably lay to the north-east of Avanti along 
the bank of the Jumna, southwards from Kosala 2 and to the west of 
Allahabad. 3 The Chinese pilgrim Hsiian Tsang, who speaks of the 
land of the Vatsas as the Kausambi country, says that it was about 
6,000 li in circuit. 4 

The Mahabharata contains certain items of traditional lnlorma- 
tion regarding the Vatsa-bhumi or land of the Vatsas. In one 
passage 5 we are told that, prior to the Rajasuya sacrifice performed 
by Yudhisthira, Bhlmasena led an expedition towards the east and 
conquered the Vatsa-bhumi ; while in the Vanaparvan, 6 it is stated 
that Vatsa was conquered by Karna. Elsewhere 7 we read that the 
Haihayas of the Cedi country seized the capital of the Vatsas after 
killing" Haryasva who must have been a king of Vatsa. In the 
BMsmaparvan* it is said that in the Kuruksetra war, the Vatsa army 
took the side of the Pandavas. Nakula and Sahadeva along with 
the Vatsas and others guarded the left side of the Pandava army, j 

According to the tradition in the Harivamsa, the Vatsa -bhumi 
was founded by a roval prince of Kasi, while, according to the Maha- 
bharata proper, its capital Kausambi was founded by the Ccdi 
prince Kusamba. The Pali tradition in the Mahavamsa Commen- 
tary B suggests that fourteen pre-Iksvaku kings of the Solar dynasty 
headed by Baladatta, ruled the Vatsa kingdom with their capital 
at Kausambi. , 

The Puranas tell us that after Hastmapura was carried away by 
the Ganges, Nicaksn who was the fifth in descent from the Pum 
prince Pariksit, grandson of Arjuna, transferred his capital to Kau- 
sambi where' altogether twenty-five Puru kings, 10 from Nicaksn to 

' Uvasagadasao, Hoeinle, Vol. II, Appendix I, p. 7. e Buddhist India, p. 3. 

8 N. L. Dey, Gii-israphical Dictionary, p. 100. 
* Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. I, p. 365. 

5 Chap. 30, pp. 241-2. * Chap. 253, pp. 513714. 

7 Am i > 1 ' Llip jo p. 1899. 8 Chap. 50, p. 924. 

9 Vatnsatthappakasini, J, pp. 128, 130. 

10 Rhys Davids (Camb. Hist., I, p. 308) says: "The later list contains the names 
of 29 Ptiru kings who lived after the war. They reigned first at Hastinapura, the 


Ksemaka, reigned. 1 In this genealogy we are given the succession 
of the kings of Vatsa from Nicaksu to -Ksemaka without the length 
of their reigns. Udayana, who was a contemporary of the Buddha, 
is represented as the son and successor of SatanTka ; and the four 
successors of Udayana as Vahinara, Dandapani, Niramitra and 
Ksemaka. The evidence of Buddhist literature in general, and of 
the Pali canon in particular, clearly proves the contemporaneity of 
Udayana, the king of Vatsa, with Canda Pradyota (Pali Cauda 
Pajjota) of Avanti, Prasenajit (Paseuadi) of Kosala, and Bimbisara 
and Ajatasatru of Magadha. It is interesting to find that the 
Puranas mention just four kings who succeeded to the throne of 
Avanti after Canda Pradyota, and four kings who succeeded to 
the throne of Kosala after Prasenajit. 2 The total length of the 
reigns of the five kings of Avanti from Pradyota to Nandivardhana 
is given as 138 years, Pradyota's four successors having reigned 
altogether for 115 years. 3 Among the kings of N. India who 
were contemporaries of the Buddha, Bimbisara pre-deceascd him 
by about 8 years, and Ajatasatru survived the Buddha by 16 
years; Prasenajit, who was of the same age as the Buddha, 
"died almost in the same year; and though both Pradyota and 
Udayana survived the Buddha, they could not have lived or 
reigned for more than 10 or 15 years after the Buddha's demise. 
Thus, on the whole, it may be surmised that Avanti, Kosala and 
Vatsa retained their independence for about a century after the 
Buddha's death, and lost it only during the period of the Nandas. 
We know that when King Asoka Maurya ascended the throne of 
Magadha, the three ancient kingdoms of Kosala, Vatsa and Avanti 
were already included in the Maurya empire, Ujjeni or Avanti 
was placed under a Viceroy of Asoka, while Kausambl or Vatsa was 
governed by a Makamatra.* 

The Lalitavistara contains a tradition according to which King 
Udayana was born on the same day as the Buddha. 5 He appears 
to have strengthened his political position by matrimonial alliances 

ancient capital of the Kuru princes, which is usually identified with a ruined site 
in the Meerut district on the old bed of the Ganges, lat. 29 9' N., long 78 3' E. 
(Pargiter, Mark. Pur., p. 355) ; but when this city was destroyed by an inundation 
of the Ganges iu the reign of Nichakshu, they removed the seat of their rule to 

Kausambl Another of their capitals was Indraprastha in the Kuril plain, the 

ancient city of the Pandu princes . . . ' 

1 For the genealogy in full, see Pargiter, Dviuistias of t lie K,iii Age, pp. 65-6. 

a Ibid., pp. 67-8. 3 *&*<*■. p. 68. 

* Asoka S Kausdnv:! Schism Pillar Edict. 

s Vide Foucaux, Tr. of the Tibetan version of the Lalitavistara ; cf . Rockhill, 
The Life of the Buddha, pp. 16-17. 


with the neighbouring kings, particularly with King Canda Pradyota 
of Avanti. Stories of Udayana and his queens abound in Sanskrit 
and Pali literature, and provide the themes for no less than four 
dramas. 1 The Pali legends tell us that Udayana ascended the 
throne of Vatsa by the assertion and establishment of his rightful 
claim as the son and successor of his father Parantapa. 2 In the 
Udenavatthu, Vatsa is described as a pavenirajja, i.e. a kingdom in 
which succession to the throne was determined by the law of primo- 
geniture. 3 In most of the other references, whether Brahmanical, 
Jaina, or Buddhist, Satanika (better, Satanika II) is represented as 
Udayana's father. 4 In the Skandapurana alone, Sahasranika is 
represented as the father and Satanika as the grandfather of 
Udayana. 5 The Skandapurana speaks of Satanika as a king of 
Kausambi who belonged to the family of Arjuna, was powerful and 
intelligent, beloved by his subjects, and who was killed in a war 
between the Devas and the Asuras. 8 According to the Jama 
tradition, Udayana's father Satanika II invaded Campa, the capital 
of Anga, during the reign of King Dadhivahana. 7 According 
to the Skandapurana and Vividhatirthakalpa, Udayana's mother was 
Queen Mrgavati, granddaughter of Krtavarma, king of Ayodhya. 8 
In the plays of Bhasa, Udayana is ' described _ as Vaidehiputra, 
which indicates that his mother was princess of Videha. 9 

Udayana was a warlike king who kept a strong army noted 
for its elephants. Envious of his fellow-monarch's wealth and 
prosperity, Canda Pradyota of Avanti laid a trap for Udayana when 
he was visiting the frontier of his kingdom, and succeeded in taking 
him captive. He made his escape from captivity with the help of 
Vasuladatta or Vasavadatta, daughter of Canda Pradyota, who 
eloped with Udayana and became bis chief queen. 10 

i Bhasa 's Svapnavasavadatta and Pratijhayaugandharayana; Harsa's Ratndvali 
and Priyadariikd. ' The k-;;enti^ of IMavana are also to be found in the Brahmakhanda 
of the Skandapurana, the Jaina Vividhatirthakalpa, the Lahtavistara, Tibetan 
Buddhist literature, Pali Udenavatthu, Sanskrit Mdkandika Avadana, and the 
Si-ytt-ki of Hsiian Tsang. 

a Dhammapada Comm., I, pp. 165 foil. s Ibid., I, p. 169. 

* Vividhatirthakalpa, ed. Jina Vijaya Suri, p. 23. 

5 Cf. The Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha, p. 28, in which King Pih-Shing 
or 'Hundred Excellences', i.e. Satanika, is represented as the son of Tsien-Shing 
('Thousand Excellences' or Sahasranika), It should be noted that 'anika' can also 
mean ' armv, host ' ; it would appear that Parantapa, Satanika and Sahasranika may 
all be taken to refer to the valour and martial strength of the king of Vatsa. 

* Chap. 5. Brahmakhanda. 7 J.A.S.B., 1914, p. 3**3 
« Skandapurana, Chap. V, Brahmakhanda. 

» Vividhatirthakalpa, p. 23; Bhandarkar, Carmichael Lectures, 1918, p. 59. 
"> Dkammapada Comm., I, pp. 191-g, and Svapnavasavadatta. 


According to the Pali legend, Udayana was born and brought up 
in the Himalayan region, in the hermitage of a sage who was pre- 
viously a native of Allakappa. He was named Udcna or Udayana 
because of his birth, just at sunrise, on the top of a lull, and under 
a clear sky ' According to another Buddhist legend m the Tibetan 
Dulva, 'as the world was illuminated at his birth, as with the sun. 
he was called Udayana'. 2 , . = „„» 

Udayana is said to have married Samavati (hyamayati), 
daughter of a banker of Bhaddavati, who was brought up in the 
family of the banker Ghosita of Kausambi. Another of his wives was 
Magandiya or Makandika, an exquisitely beautiful Brahmm girl 
frmn the Kuril country,' and yet another was Padmavati, daughter 
of King Aiatasatru of Magadha.« The Ratndvall represents Udayana 
as having also married Sagarika, a princess from Ceylon. In the 
Udenavalthu, each of his three qtieens Vasuladatta, Samavati and 
Magandiya, is said to have been attended by 500 dancing girls. 
The PrivaiartiM also speaks of a matrimonial alliance made by 
Udayana with Drdhavarman, king of Airga. We are told that 
Udayana once helped Drdhavarman to regain his throne. 

In the Jaina Vividhattrthakalpa (p. 23), Udayana is praised as 
an expert in the science of music (ganihabbaveya-mu^w). He 
ruled despotically and sometimes recklessly. Wher , his queen 
Magandiya was found guilty of putting her co-wife Samavati to 
death, Udavana ordered her to be buried ahye.. According to one 
Buddhist tradition, a hermit fled to Sravasti when his life was threat- 
ened by Udavana." On one occasion, m a fit of drnnken jealousy, 
Udayana tortured the Buddhist Thera Pmdola Bharadvaja by 
causing a nest of brown ants to be tied to his body. Later, however 
he consulted this same Pindola about various spiritual matters, 
and ended bv professing himself his disciple. We have no evidence 
that he proceeded verv far along the path, but his fame has lasted 
in a curious way in Buddhist legends. Udayana is said to haye 
made a golden image of the Buddha' and Hsuan Tsang brought 
back from India many things including a statue of the Buddha 
carved out of sandal-wood on a transparent pedestal. This figure 
is described as a copv of the statue which Udayana, king of Kausambi, 

\ gSfwffiwS**'* Cf.Wittas, 0, r- a,., e , I.p. 368. 

-> Udcnuvatthu, pp. 161 foil. 

* SmpnavawvadMLl , Pr..Hij>i5yauga?tdharayana. 

s Watters, On Yuan Chwang, I, p. 368. 

» Samvutta. SikJya, IV, pp. no-3. 

"1 Kdidns, Chinese li'u/iihism, p. 49, 2nd Ed. 


had made. 1 It is said in the Si-yu-H that in the city of Kausambi, 
within an old palace, there was a large vihara about 60 feet high, 
containing a figure of the Buddha carved out of sandal wood above 
which was a stone canopy. It was the work of the King U-to-yen-na 
(Udayana). By its spiritual qualities it produced a divine light, 
which from time to time shone forth. The princes of various 
countries had used their power to try to carry off this statue, but 
although many men tried, none could move it. They therefore 
worshipped copies of it, and pretended that their likeness was a 
true one, the original of all such figures. 8 The Petavatihu records 
the erection of a vihara by one Uttara, a wood-carver, in the service 
of King Udayana. 3 The figure was known to have been made for 
King Udayana by a distinguished artist of the time.* But nowhere 
in the earlier tradition is Udayana mentioned as the builder of any 
such temple or statue. 

Immediately prior to the rise of Buddhism, there were four 
powerful monarchies in N. India, each of which was enlarged 
by the annexation of a neighbouring territory. Thus Anga was 
annexed to Magadha, Kasi to Kosala, Bharga to Vatsa, and Surasena 
to Avanti. The kingdom of Vatsa must have served as a buffer 
State between Magadha and Avanti on the one hand, and Kosala and 
Avanti on the other. Bhasa in his Svapnavasavadatta tells us that 
an upstart named Aruni ousted Udayana and seized the throne 
of Vatsa. 5 

As in earlier days, so during the reign of Asoka in the third 
century B.C., Kausambi stood on the high road connecting Vidisa and 
Ujjayini with Benares and Pataliputra. Asoka appears to.have been 
an overlord of Vatsa, and to have placed its administration in charge 
of Mahamatras with their headquarters at Kausambi. Kausambi 
was probably the place of residence of Asoka's second queen 
Kaluvaki, and her son Prince Tivala ; the edict on her donations 
was promulgated only at Kausambi. 

However that may be, Vatsa was finally absorbed into the 
Magadhan empire, 8 probably during the reign of Sisunaga. We 
may infer from the inscriptions at Pabhosa that in the second century 

1 Beai, Records of the Western World, Vol. I, Intro., p. xx. 

a ibid.. Vol. 1, p. 335. 

s This Uttara had friendly relations with Mahakaccayana and various Buddhist 
Theras, bnt his mother was a believer in false doctrines, see Paramattkadtpani on the 
Pehivatthu, pp. 140-4; cf. also B. C. Law, The Buddhist Conception of Spirits, 2nd 
Ed., pp. 89-90. 

4 Watter- On Yuan Ckawip,, I, p. 368. 

5 Svapnavasavadatta, Siikthankar's trsl., p. 64. 

r ' Bhandarkar, Carmichae! Lectures, tqtS, pp. 8r and 84. 


B.C., Vatsa (KausambI) and Pancala (Ahicchatra) were governed by 
branches of the same royal family, and that both kingdoms acknowl- 
edged the suzerainty of the Suhgas. 1 Dhanabhirti, a Sunga feudatory, 
is called Vacchipnta, son of a princess of Vatsa. 2 It may be that 
King Dhanabhuti, the donor of Bharhut gateways, his father Agaraju 
and grandfather Visvadeva were all local chiefs of Vatsa under the 
Sungas. 8 However that may be, the st&pa of Bharhut was erected in 
the Vatsa country not earlier than the second century B.C., the first 
pillar of its main railing being donated by ChapadevI, wife of Revatl- 
mitra, of Vidisa. 4 Revatimitra was in all probability a member of 
the Sunga-Mitra family, stationed at Vidisa. If this is so, we can 
say that when the Bharhut railing was erected, the Sunga dominions 
extended as far west as Vatsa and Avanti. As clearly proved by the 
inscriptions, when the Bharhut gateways were erected by King 
Dhanabhuti not earlier than the first century B.C., the Vatsa country 
was included in the Sunga empire (Suganam raje). b 

An inscription on the gateway on the fort of Kara, dated 
Samvat 1093 (1036 A.D.), records the grant of the village of Payalasa 
(modern Pras) 'in the Kausambi-mandala to one Mathura-vikata of 
Pabhosa together with its customary duties, royalties, taxes, gold 
and tithes in perpetuity to his descendants by Maharajadhiraja 
Yasahpala', 6 who was the last Pratihara king of Kanauj. The 
history of Vatsa or the country of KausambI as a political unit 
ended with the rule of Yasahpala of Kanauj. 

As we have seen, the Bhagga or Bharga State was a dependency 
of the Vatsa kingdom. We learn from the preface to the Dhona- 
sdkha Jataka, No. 353, that Prince Bodhi, the son of Udayana, king 
of the Vatsas (bv his queen Vasuladatta or Vasavadatta) , dwelt on 
the Sumsumaragiri and built a palace called Kokanada. Surrisu- 
maragiri, according to Buddhist tradition, was the capital of the 
Bharga kingdom; so evidently in the sixth century B.C. the territory 
of the Bhargas was a dependency of the Vatsa kingdom, governed by 
a Viceroy of the royal family of KausambI. Bhiksu Rahula Sam- 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, pp. 525-°- 

2 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 523. T1U 

s Bartia Barhitt, Bk. I, pp. 41-2, inclines tentatively to connect King Dhana- 
bhuti and his predecessors with Mathura or a nearby locality. Rapson, in Camb 
Hist lac. at., observes: 'We may conclude that this family ruled at Bharhut and 
that it was connected in some way with the royal family at Mathura, more than 
250 miles to the north-west. ' 

* Barua and Sinha, Barhut Inscriptions, p. 3. ■ ^ 

5 Ibid., No. I, p. 1. See B. C. Law, KausambI in Ancient Literature, M.A.5.I., 
No. 60, pp. '12-13, for a further discussion on the subject. 

• J.R.A.S., 1927, p. 694. 



krityayana proposes to identify the Bharga country with the present 
Mirzapur district, and its capital Sumsumaragiri with the present 
Chunar hill. 1 Buddhaghosa suggests, however, that Sumsumaragira 
(not Sumsumaragiri) was the name of the principal town in the 
Bhagga country. Originally the Vatsas and Bhargavas (or Bhaggas) 
were two ruling clans that settled down and founded kingdoms side 
by side. Vatsa and Bhrgu, from whom the Vatsas and Bhargavas 
respectively claimed their descent, are said to have been sons of King 
Pratardana of Kasi. 2 

The country of Kausambi (i.e. Vatsa) is described as follows by 
the Chinese pilgrim Hsiian Tsang: 'This country is about 6,000 h m 
circuit, and the capital about 30 li. The land is famous for its 
productiveness; the increase is very wonderful. Rice and sugar- 
cane are plentiful. The climate is very hot, the manners of the 
people hard and rough. They cultivate learning and are very 
earnest in their religious life and in virtue'. 3 

The Anguttava Nikaya * speaks of the land of the Vamsas as a 
country which abounded in seven kinds of gems and was conse- 
quently regarded as very rich and prosperous. Kautilya's Artha- 
sastra mentions Vatsa as one of the countries of which the cotton 
fabrics were of the very best quality. 5 

From the earliest times, the Vatsas, as the Aitareya Brdhmam 
clearlv attests, established a monarchical form of government in 
their land. They formally anointed their kings in accordance with 
the prescribed Vedic rites, and they are not known to have deviated 
from this practice at any period of their history. Ordeal by walking 
through fire was applied as a test of purity of descent of the kings. 6 
Capital punishment by impaling on a stake was inflicted on a culprit 
even for a light offence, as illustrated by the Jataka story oi 
' Mandavya with the Peg '. When King Kosambika nded 
over Kos'ambl in the kingdom of Vatsa, a robber committed a theft 
and, being chased, left the stolen goods near the door of an ascetic 
named Mandavya, and himself escaped. When the owner of the_ 
property came there, he took the ascetic to be the robber, and brought 
him before the king. The king without enquiry said, ' Off with him, 

1 Buddhacaryd, pp. 75, 175; Ghosh, Early History of Kaiiiambi, p. 32. 

2 Rav Chaudhuri, Political History ■>/ Ancient India, 4th Ed., pp. 112-13 and 
159. The Mahdbhar-ita and the Harivamia testify to the close connection between 
the Vatsas and the Bhargas. 

s Beal, Records of the Western World, I, p. 235. See also Walters, On Yuan 
.g, I, p. 366. 
TV, pp. 252, 256, 260. 
Arthaiastra, Shania Sastri's trsl., p. 94. 
Cambridge History of India, I, p. 134. 


impale him upon a stake'. Stakes of acacia and nimb wood did 
not pierce him, so concluding that the ascetic was innocent, the 
king ordered the stake to be drawn out. This was found to be 
impossible, however, so at Mandavya's suggestion the stake was cut 
off with the skin. Thenceforward he was called Mandavya with the 
Peg. The king asked his pardon and settled him in the royal park. 1 

According to the Buddhist legendary tradition, the Vatsa 
country was among those considered by the Devaputras in the 
Tusita heaven when a suitable birthplace for the Buddha was under 
discussion. The defects of the Vatsas and their royal family were 
then pointed out. For instance, it was said that the Vamsas were 
rude and rough, and their king an ' Ucchedavadin ' ; and, finally, it 
was decided that the royal family of Vatsa was unsuited for the 
honour of the Buddha^s birth. 2 However, when the Buddha was 
about to pass away, Ananda mentioned Kausambi of the Vatsas 
as one of six great cities suitable for the Buddha's farinibbana? 

Kausambi, the capital of the Vatsas, is identified by Cunningham 
with Kosam on the Jumna, about 30 miles south-west of Allahabad. 4 
The Cambridge History, following Cunningham, says that Kausambi 
seems to have been on the south bank of the Jumna, at a point about 
400 miles by road from Ujjain, and about 230 miles upstream from 
Benares. 5 The Chinese pilgrims, Fa-Hien and Hstian Tsang, give 
discrepant accounts of the situation of Kausambi. Fa-Hien arrived 
there from the Deer Park to the north of Benares, after walking 
north-west for 13 vojanas (about gi miles), as he says. This would 
make Kausambi lie to the north or north-west of Prayaga, as 
St. Martin thinks 9 ; but Hsuan Tsang, who visited Kausambi twice, 
arrived there by going from Prayaga ' south-west through a forest 
infested by wild elephants and other fierce animals, and after a 
journey of above 500 li (about 100 miles).' 7 

The question of the site of Kausambi has been much debated, 
chiefly because of the impossibility of reconciling Cunningham's 
identification with the descriptions of the Chinese pilgrims. But 
such descriptions mav either have been incorrect originally or may 
have been subsequently misinterpreted. For instance, there is 
nothing in the actual records of Hsuan Tsang to suggest that the 

1 Jataka (Fausboll). Vol. IV, pp. 28 foil. 

2 See the Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha, p. 28 ; and Lahtavistara, ed. 
Lefmann, p. 21. 

' Digha Nikaya, pp. 146, 169. 

* Ancient Geography of India, p. 454- See ^ so Rap son . Ancient India, p. 170. 

5 Cambridge History, Vol. I, pp. 187-8. 

fl Waiters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. I, pp. 3 OD_ 7- 

' Ibid., p. 365. 



distance given was the actual distance between Prayaga and the 
city of Kausambi. It is likely that the pilgrim went to Kausambi by 
a roundabout route from Prayaga. The distance and direction of 
Kausanibi from Sarnath as given by Fa-Hien may be taken as fairly 
correct. The distance of 13 yojanas (about 90 or 104 miles) is almost 
the present distance by road from Benares to Kosam. The fact that 
Fa-Hien placed Kausambi to the north-west of Benares may perhaps 
be due to his having walked along a road following a north-west 
direction for some distance. 

Vincent Smith considers that the site of Kausambi is to be 
looked for near the Sutna railway station in the valley of the Tons 
river. 1 As for earlier evidence, the Brahmanas generally assert 
that Kausambi stood either on the Ganges or close to it, and the 
discovery of the name ' Kosambimandala ' in an inscription over the 
gateway of the fort of Khara seems to confirm this, although the 
south-west bearing from Prayaga or Allahabad as recorded by Hsiian 
Tsang points unmistakably to the line of the Jumna. 2 

The Satapatha Brahmana (XII, 2, 2, 13) mentions Proti 
Kausurubindi as a pupil undergoing brahmacarya under Uddalaka 
Arirni (of Upanisadic fame) and bearing the local epithet of Kau- 
sambeya which the commentator Harisvamin explains as meaning 
'a native of Kausambi.' 3 The Gopatha Brahmana (I, 4, 24) contains 
the same reference, but the name of Uddalaka 's pupil is here given 
as Predi Kausurubindu. Kosambeyaka, a Prakrit form of Kausam- 
beya, occurs in one of the Barhut Inscriptions, being employed to 
mean ' a person from Kausambi.' 4 

Thus, from the employment of Kausambeya as a local epithet 
of a person in the Brahmanas, it may be safely inferred that the 
name Kausambi was current as early as the Brahmana age. The 
Pah canon abounds in references to Kausambi as a well-known city 
in 1ST. India, the capital of the Vatsa country of King Udayana. 
The high antiquity of Kausambi as a royal city is equally proved by 
traditions not only in the two great Sanskrit Epics and the Puranas, 
but also in the Vamsatthappakasim (commentary on the Mahdvamsa). 
The Mahabharata s attributes the foundation of the city _ of 
Kausambi to Prince Kusamba, third son of the Cedi _ king 
Uparicara Vasu. In the Rdmayana story, however, Prince Kusamba 
is described as the eldest son of an ancient king named Kusa, who 

1 J.R.A.S., r8 9 8, p. 503. . . 

a For a fuller discussion of the problem, wee H. C- I,aw, K'.ii<sa>n-tii m Ancient 
Literature (Memoirs of the Arciianologicai Survey of India, Xo. he). 

3 Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India (4th Ed.), p. 58. 

* Barua and Sinha, Barhut Inscriptions, p. 12. 

5 Adiparvan (Vangavasi Kd.), Chap. 63, pp. 69-71. 


had four sons by his queen Vaidarbhi, the youngest of them being 
Vasu. 1 According to the Matsyafiurana, when Hastinapura was 
swept away by a Ganges flood, the Kuru or Bharata king Nicaksu, 
who was fifth in descent from Pariksit, the grandson of Arjuna, 
abandoned Hastinapura and dwelt in Kausambi. 2 There is, however, 
no suggestion made in the Purana that Nicaksu was himself the 
founder of the city. We are told in McCrindle's Ptolemy* that 
Kausambl was a famous city on the river Jumna, which became the 
Pandu capital after Hastinapura had been swept away by the Ganges, 
and which was noted as the shrine of the most sacred of all the 
statues of the Buddha. Its fame began only with the reign of Cakra, 
the eighth in descent from Arjuna the Pandava. 4 It is stated in 
the Puranas that the three sons of Adhisamakrsna, named Nirvakta, 
Nemieakra and Vivaksu, lived in Kausambl after the destruction 
of Hastinapura by the inundation of the Ganges. 5 

Several explanations have been suggested to account for the 
name Kausambl or Kosambi. Different traditions suggest (i) that 
the city was named after Prince Knsamba fl ; (2) that it was originally 
the dwelling place of the sage Kosamba 7 ; (3) that the city came to 
be called Kosambi because when it was founded, numerous Kosamba 
trees were uprooted on the site, 8 or because the town abounded m 
shady Kosamba trees. 9 

Indian literature consistently refers to Kausambl as a royal 
city i.e. the capital of a kingdom; but in the Si-yu-ki of Hsiian 
Tsang, Kausambi (Kiao-shang-mi) is represented rather as a country 
with its capital, which was 'evidently named Kausambl. 10 The 
Chinese pilgrim must have followed the later usage which represented 
Kausambi as a political unit instead of as a mere city. 11 

Kansambi is described in the Trikan&aUsa (2, 1, 14) as Vatsa- 
pattana, 'the capital of Vatsa'. 12 In the Buddhist literature, too, 

1 Rdmdyana (Bombay Ed.), I, 32, 1-6. 

2 Ray Chaudliuri, Political History of Ancient In-.un (4th HA.), p. 5^- 
a MeCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, p. 72. 

* Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 39 1 - _ . 

s Matsyafurana, Chap. 50; cf. Vdyu and,: Puranas. 
« See B C. Law, Kauiambl in Ancient Literature, p. 2. 

7 ParamaUhajotika, Vol. II, p. 300. ASvaghosa in his S^aranandaKavya 
(B. C. Law's trsl., p. 9) refers to the hermitage (dirama) of Kusamba, where the aty 
of Kausambi was built. 

8 PapancasOdani, Pt. II, pp. 389-9°- 
Vividhatirthakaipa, p. 23. 

10 Waiters. On Yuan Chwans, I, pp. 365-6. „4s_m t, 

» E.g! Inscription of Yasapala, dated Sarnvat 1093 £&■»• I037)-Kausamb. IS 
mentioned as Kosambamandala. 

" Ghosh, Early History of Kausambl, Introd., p. xvn. 


Kausambi is described as the capital of the Vatsa country, as also 
in the Kathdsaritsagara. 1 The Vividhatirthakalpa (p. 23) definitely 
states that the forests of Kausambi were reached along the course 
of the Kalimdi (i.e. Yamuna or Jumna). 2 

According to the description in the Suttampata oi a journey 
of Bavari's disciples from Patitthana to Rajagaha, Kausambi was 
one of the halting places on the same high road which led to Saketa 
and Sravastl. The Vinaya Mahavagga s gives a description of a 
somewhat different route that lay between Kausambi and Sravasti. 
Kausambi was the most important entrepot for both goods and 
passengers coming to Kosala and Magadha from the south and west. 
The route from Kausambi to Rajagrha was down the river,* and 
Kausambi was also one of the chief stopping places on the way from 
Sravasti to Patitthana. 5 . 

Kausambi had great military strength. The remains at Kosam 
include those of a vast fortress with eastern ramparts and bastions, 
four miles in circuit, with an average height of 30 to 35 feet above 
the general level of the country. The fact that the city was an 
important commercial centre, is indicated by the extraordinary 
variety of the coins found there. c Cast coins were issued at the 
close of the third century by the kingdoms of Kausambi, Ayodhya 
and Mathura, some of which bear the names of local kings in the 
Brahmi script. 7 There is little foreign influence traceable m the 
die-struck coins, all closely connected in point of style, which were 
issued during the first and second centuries B.C. from Pancala, 
Ayodhya, Kausambi and Mathura. A number of these bear Brahmi 
Inscriptions. The coins of Kausambi have a tree within a railing 
on the obverse. 8 The coinage of the kings of Kausambi seems to 
begin in the third century B.C., and to extend over a period of about 

ments of the Order in or near Kausambi, each of them having a group 
of huts under trees. Buddhaghosa informs us that the three banker 
friends, Ghosita, Kukkuta and Pavarika, were the great business 
magnates of Kausambi in the Buddha's time. All of them went on 

1 II, 1. 

> Spence Hardy, Manual of Buddhism, p. 501. Cf. Manorathapw 
pp. 306-7. 

3 Vol. I, p. 352 foil. 

* Rhvs Davids, Biaiiiltist India, p. 36- 5 H»&: P- 

« Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 5^4- 

7 Brown, Cains of India, p. 19. 

8 Ibid., p. 20. See also Pidcimi MudrCt, p. 105. 

9 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 525. 

elephant-back from Kairsambi to Sravasti to wait upon the Buddha 
at Jetavana, and it was at their invitation that the Buddha agreed 
to vS Kausambi. Each of the bankers a suitable retrea for 
the Buddha in the neighbourhood of the city. Regarding Ghosita- 
rSmf Man Tsang tells us that it was situated the aty 
on the south-east side with an Asoka tope over 200 feet high .' 
Within the city, at the southeast angle of it there were the ruins 
of an old habitation, the house of Ghosita (Ghosira) the nobleman. 
In the middle there was a vihara of the Buddha and a stupa con- 
tainine hair and nail relics. There were also ruins of the latha- 
gata" g ba"n.nghouse.' The pilgrim has also left hints as to he 
focation of the remaining two SrSmas. Kukkutarama was situated 
to the south-east of Ghositaranra. At the t me of his visi t .t wa 
'a two-storeyed building with an old brick upper chamber . 
PavaTikS mango-grove "was situated to the east of Ghositarama, 
where the old foundations of a building were visible. 

Besides the three retreats built by the three bankers, we read 
of another Buddhist retreat in or near Kausambr which was known 
as Badarikarama • The Deer Park in Bhesakajavana or Kesa- 
Slavana« in the neighbourhood of Smnsumaragira u* ^principal 
town in the Bhagga province, then ruled by Prince Bodhl as Viceroy 
waTthe other important Buddhist retreat and early centre of 
Suddhist activity in the Vatsa dominion. The Park evidently 
ta tonged to Prince Bodhi, who became an ardent lay supporter of 
Buddhism The story of a cordial entertainment of the Buddha 
a^d his Ssciples in the famous ' Lotus Palace' then bmlt by Prince 
Bodhi is narrated in the MajjtnmaNtkaya.' r.,„,dhist 

In the time of Hsiian Tsang, there were more than ten Buddhist 
monasteries (in or near Kausambi), but all m utte, r rams The 
brethren who were above 300 m number, were adherents of the 
iSayana system. There were more than fifty deva-temples, and 
the non-Buddhists were very numerous.' 

. Walters, On Yu.n Cfc»«s. I. P 3*9- The : Asota piUar on rfjch S«,„«dr.- 

(see Smith Early ilislorv •■■! Indi-.i, p. jfu, 4tli lid.). 
( TZll, Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. I, p. 236. 
a Walters, (hi Yuan Chwang, I, p. 37°' 

■ ■'■.^.■-m^V ^«*« (tousboll, No. 16). r- f „i„m a ,Khnin III 1=17 

« BodhirajahJardSuUa, MajjUma Ntkaya, II, 91; J«*** (^usboll), III. W- 

I ™*£3n 9 Y™nCh,*n g , Vol. I, p. 306. See abo Legge, FUR* P . 96. 



The Buddha's favourite retreat at Kausambi was undoubtedly 
the Ghositamma where he stayed on several occasions' For 
instance we read in the Majjhima Nikaya that once while the 
Buddha 'was staving at the Ghositamma, he tried to prevent the 
Kausambian monks, who were divided into two parties, from 
quarrelling From the Smapina JStaka we learn that the Buddha, 
after staying for a long time at Bhaddavatika, went to Kausambi 
where he was cordially received by the townsfolk, some of whom 
invited him to a meal. On this occasion the Buddha condemned the 
drinking of intoxicants.' While dwelling at the Badarika monastery 
in KausambI, the Buddha related the Tipallatthimu go- Jataka about 
the elder Rahula. 4 . , -J 

In the DMmmapaiaithakathd,' we read that there hved at 
Kausambi a householder's son, KosarnbivasI Tissathera, who took 
ordination from the Buddha. One of the Buddha's chief disciples, 
Ananda also delivered several sermons at Kausambi. 1 Among 
famous followers of the Buddha who stayed at Ghositamma were 
Sariputta and Upavana.' After the passing away of the Master, and 
when the First Great Council was over, Mahakaccayana lived near 
Kausambi in a forest hermitage with twelve bhikkhus.' 

Some of the Kosambians entertained a great respect for the 
Buddha and the Buddhist faith, and were converted; while we are 
told that others went so far as to enter the Order and attain arahat- 
ship —e.g. Gavaccha the Less. 9 At the time of the Buddha oiT 
vatl Then was born in a rich householder's family at Kausambi. She 
was the favourite friend of Queen Samavati, wife of King Udayana. 
After the death of the queen, she was very much grieved, and became 
a bhikkhunl. Her grief was so bitter that she was unable to attain 
the ariyamagga. Afterwards listening to the instruction of Ananda, 
she became free from sorrow by developing insight, and became 
an arahat. 10 . 

When the Vaj jian monks carried out the act of excommunication 
against Yasa, he is said to have risen up into the sky and descended 

1 §ee,e&.VinayaTexts,~Pt. II, p. 285; Ibid., Pt. in, p. 233; Majjhima r\'tk,iya, 
I, p p. 513ft.: Samvalta .\ ik.fiya. Til, pp. 94-5 ; V, pp. 224, 229-30; Sumahgatavthmm , 
Pt. I, pp. ^lJ-T};'Ctlllm^g;i lyinayit Texts, Pt. II, pp. 370fi). 

2 MajjHma Xihaya. I, pp. 320 foil; Vol. Ill, p. 153. 
s Jataka iT.uwl'oKj. Vol. I, pp. 360 foil. 

* Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 160 foil. ; Vol. Ill, pp. 64 foil. 5 Vol. II, pp. 182-5. 

8 Samyutta Wikdya, III, pp. 133 foil.; II, pp. 115 foil.; IV, pp. rr3-T4- 

' Ibid.,V,vv. 76-7- 

s See ParamaUhadi'nori ™ the Petavattlm, pp. 140-144. 

9 Psalms of the Brethren, p. 16. 

io Therigathd Ojmm., P.T.S., pp. 44-5- 


at Kausambi. 1 The MaMvimsa tells us, however, that the venerable 
Vasa is said to have fled from Vaisali to Kausambi just before the 
assembly of the second Buddhist Council. 2 

The Parileyyaka forest, where the Buddha is said to have spent 
one rainy season, and the location of which is unknown, was probably 
not very far from Kausambi.' The town of Bhaddavatika which 
lay on the wav from the Parileyyaka forest to Sravasti was another 
place in the Vatsa kingdom which became associated with the life 
of the Buddha.' Somewhere in the neighbourhood of Kausambi 
and Ghositarama was a cave called Pirakkhagtma, where a Pari- 
vraiaka or wandering ascetic named Sandaka used to live with his 
TOO followers during the summer season. The venerable Ananda is 
said to have converted Sandaka to the Buddhist faith, with all his 
following.' In tie Digha NikSya' we read that the city ot 
Kausambi was visited by two wanderers named Mandlssa and 
Tanya, who interviewed the Buddha at Ghositarama. 

The Mahavamsa attests that some 30,000 bhikknus ot trie 
Ghositarama, headed by Thera Urudhammarakkhita, visited Ceylon 
in about the first century B.C., during the reign of King Duttha- 

gam in the second year of the reign of King Kaniska, the Buddhist 
nun Buddhimitra or Buddhamitrii installed a Bodlnsattva image . m 
Kausambi, which was then known to have been 'sanctified by the 
Buddha's several visits'. '- m u- 

The records of the influence of religion over V atsa and Kausambi 
prior to the introduction of Buddhism and Jaimsm are few and tar 
between The people were supposed to have been preoccupied with 
worldly thoughts, but we read even in the Bmhmatias of hermits 
such as Proti Kausurubindi who had considerable influence, the 
main supporters of such hermits were the bankers of Kausambi, ail 
of whom were members of the Vaisya caste.' The introduction of 
Buddhism too, was due to the religious tendencies of persons belong- 
ing to this caste, as we have seen from the story of the bankers 
Ghosita, Kukkuta, and Pavarika. According to the Buddhist tradi- 
tion in the Tibetan Dulva, the Buddha visited Kausambi when King 
TJdayana was busy planning a military expedition to the city of 
Kanakavati. The appearance of the messenger of peace was naturally 

1 Kern, Indian Buddhism.?. 104. 

« Geiger, Mahdvtnsa, p. 22. See also V.naya TirH. Pt -HI. p. 394. 

• S.myutl. Um,a. Ill, pp. 04-5. * ]'"'"• P»*"% *■ »• *°- 
<- Maijnnm Xtiulya, I, pp. 513 toU. 

• Dig*. SiUya. I, pp. 157, I59-&). *•*■»- 9- 22 »- 
B Dhammafada Comm., I, p. 203. 


looked upon and dreaded as the appearance of a bad omen. 1 It 
was evidently not easy to convert Udayana and members of the 
royal family to the new faith. There seems to be some truth in 
the Buddliist legends that the devotion of Queen Samavati and her 
attendants, and the martyrdom suffered by them, were greatly 
instrumental in bringing about a change of heart in Udayana and 
making him a supporter of Buddhism. 2 Here again the banker 
Ghosita is indirectly concerned, for Samavati was brought up with 
his family. 

The influence of Jainism over KausambI does not appear to 
have been extensive. However, KausambI is known to the Jainas 
as the sacred place where Vardhamana Mahavira was worshipped 
even by the Sun and Moon ; and where Chandana attained to Kai- 
valya. KausambI is also known to the Jainas as the place hallowed 
by the birth, career and death of Jina Prabha Siiri. The Pabhosa 
rock cave was excavated in about the first century B.C. for the 
residence of the Kasyapiya arahats. 

In the inscription of the goldsmiths of KausambI, dated Samvat 
1621 (1565 A.D.) we find that six of them call themselves Vaisnavas, 
although the record itself contains only the prayers of five leading 
goldsmiths and of thirteen of their employees to Ganesa and the god 
Bhairava 'for favour '. 

L Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 74. 
; Dlh/mtHiipXihi Comm., I, pp. 208ft. 




The Vatadhanas are mentioned in the Markanieya Purana 
once alone with the Valutas, the Abhiras, the Aparantakas and 
the Sudras, all grouped in the north-west (I, VII, 36) and at another 
place along with the Sividas, Daserakas, Savadhanas, Fuskalas, 
Kairatas, etc., all grouped as peoples of the north (LVII|4) ; ™* 
Vdvuturana, erroneously no doubt, reads \ arlhadhanas (XLV 115). 
That they were a Punjab tribe is also borne out by the evidence 
of the Mahdbharata. There the Vatadhanas are said to be derived 
from an eponymous king Vatadhana who Woopjto ^Xs 
Krodhavasa group as the eponymous kings of the Vahhkas, Madras 
and Sauviras (l4"»». USVH. ,695-9) ^Sabkaparvan^ 
their country in the western region (XXXI, 1190-1) and the 
Udyogatarvan seems to suggest that the,' Joined the side of the 
Kuruf in the great Bharata War (XVIII, 569-601 .The people are 
mentioned elsewhere in the Epics as well e.g. SMMmm^lB^ 
Vdyoeaparvan, III, 86; BMsmaparvan, IX, 354 and Dronaparvan, XI 
398 Vatadhana-dvijas were amongst those who were conquered 
bv Nakula (Sabhdparvan , XXXI, 1190-1). 

' According to Mann, Vatadhana was the offspring of an out- 
caste Brahmaiia woman (X, 21), but Pargiter points out that this 
'is no doubt an expression of the same arrogance which in later 
timS 'stigmatised all the Punjab races as outcast*. (Markandeya 
Purana, p. 312, notes). 

The Atreyas 

The Markandeya Purana list mentions the Atreyas along 
with the Bharadiajas, Puskalas, Kuserukas Lampakas_, etc., as 
peoples of the north (LVII, 39-40). The Mrtyapwag reads 
Atr is who are undoubtedly the same as the Atreyas (CXIII, 43)- 

The Atrevas are also mentioned in several places in the 
Mahdbharata. ' They are represented as a family of Brahmanas 
fweffingni the Dvaitavana (Vanaparvan, XXVI :, 97 i) not far from the 
Sarasvati (Vanaparvan, CLXXVII, 12354-62)- They are also 
.mentioned n the Blmmaparvan list (IX, 376), and the Hanvamia 



seems to suggest that the people originated from the Rsi Prabhakara 
of Atri's race (XXXI, 1660-8) whence came the name of the tribe 

The Bhakadvajas 

What is true of the Atreyas seems to be equally true of the 
Bharadvajas or Bharadvajas. The Mdrkandeya list (LVII, 39-4°) 
mentions the tribe along with the Atreyas, Puskalas, Lampakas, 
etc., and locates them in the north. They are also mentioned in 
the Bhismaparvan list (IX, 376) in the same context as that of the 
Atreyas; the Great Epic tradition connects Bharadvaja with the 
upper Gangctic region near the hills (Idiparvan, CXXX, 5102-6; 
(XXVI, 6328-32; Vanaparvan, CXXXV, 10700-28; Salyaparvan, 
XLIX, 2762-2824), and Bharadvaja, the Rsi, was evidently the 
originator of the race or tribe. Like the Atreyas, it is tempting to 
connect the people of various caste divisions of present-day India 
claiming to belong to the Bharadvaja gotra with the Bharadvaja 

The Lampakas 

The Lampakas are mentioned in the Mdrkandeya list (LVII, 40) 
along with the Kuserukas, Svilakaras, Culikas, Jagudas, etc. as a 
people of the north. The Matsyapurdna reads (CXIII, 43} Lampakas 
instead, which is no doubt wrong. The Mahdbhdrata [Dronaparvan, 
CXXI, 4846-7) also mentions the tribe and seems to suggest that 
they were a rude mountain tribe like the Daradas and Pulindas. 
Long ago Cunningham identified the region of the Lampakas with 
modern Lamghan, hundred miles to the east of Kapisene, north- 
east of Kabul, which practically upholds Lassen's identification 
of the place with Lambagae, south of the Hindu Kush in modern 

If the tradition contained in Hemacandra's Abhidhana- 
cintamani is to be believed, then Latnpaka seems to have once 
been the centre of the Sai-wang or the Saka-Muranda people 
(Lampakdstu Muranddh syuh). 


The Yonas or Yavanas, literally 'Ionians', a people or peoples 
of Greek descent, rnav be traced in Indian literature and inscriptions 1 
from the third century B.C. to the second century A.D. They were 
'manifestly a factor of no small importance in the political history 
of Northern and Western India'. 2 

In the Mahabkarata we find them taking part in the Bharata War 
at Kuruksctra as allies of the Kurus along with other peoples of 
North-Western India like the Kambojas, Sakas, Madras, Kaikeyas, 
Sindhus and Sauviras.' Indian tradition, however, regards them as 
aliens or ontcastes. Thus the Sutras mention the Yavanas (Greeks) 
as the most esteemed of foreigners, but all Yavanas are regarded as 
sprung from Sudra females and Ksatriya males. Gautama says that 
this view is held by some.' The Ramayana » refers to the struggles 
of the Hindus with mixed hordes of Sakas and Yavanas (cf. Sakan 
Yavanarnisritan). In the Kiskinihya Kania (IV, 43, "r*?)' 
Sugriva places the country of the Yavanas and the cities of the 
Sakas between the country of the Kurus and the Madras and the 
Himalayas « In the Mahabkarata, the Yonas or Yaunas arc classed 
with other peoples of Uttarapatha or Northern India like the 
Kambojas Gandharas, Kiratas and Barbaras.' In the Markandeya 
Parana, we also find a list of peoples where the Gabalas or Yavanas 
are classed with some other people of Northern or North-Western 
India like the Gandharas, Sindlm-Sauviras and Madrakas. Instead 
of Gabalas, the Vayu and the Matsya Purdnas read Yavanas which 
seems to be the correct reading." The Yonas or Yavanas thus seem 
to be one of the ancient tribes settled in some part of India. A 
Yona or Greek State is, therefore, mentioned along with Kamboja 

l Indian Culture, Vol. 1, pp. 343 Ml. 

'- Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 225. 

5 1, 54, 2r. 

« Political History oj Ancient India (4th VA.), p. 3- „ -* — 

r Cf. Uitardpalhajanmanah Kirtayishydmi tan apt Yaana Kamboja Gandharah 
Kirdtd Barbaraih saha. Mbh., XIT, 207, 43. 

s Cf. GdndhSrd Yavanaicaiva Sindhu-Sanvira-Madrakah {Markandeya Parana, 

Chap. 57, 36). 


in the Majjhima NiUya (II, 149) a s flourishing in the time of 
Gautama Buddha and Assalayana. 1 

The Milinta-Panko refers to the land of the Yonas as the place 
fit for the attainment of Nibbana (Trenckner ed„ p. 327). The 
MaUvastu speaks of the assembly of the Yonas where anything 
which was decided was binding on them (Vol. I, p. 171). Hence 
D R Bhandarkar in his Carmichad Lectures ' observes that there is 
nothing strange in Panini flourishing in the sixth century B.C. and 
in his referring also to Yavananl, the writing of the Greeks. When 
Alexander invaded India he found a large number of autonomous 
tribes and principalities in the North-Western Frontier Province 
and the Punjab. Among these we find mention of the Nysaeans 
forming a small hill-state with a republican constitution. They 
had Adouphis then as their President and they had a Governing 
Body of three hundred members. Holdich in discussing the site ot 
Nvsa ■ shows that the lower spurs and valleys of Koh-i-Mor arc 
where the ancient city of Nysa once stood. According to 
Bhandarkar* Nvsa was situated between the Kophen and the 
Indus In the Fifth Book of Arrian's work,' we find two relevant 
passages in this connection. Arrian says, ' The Nysaeans are not an 
Indian race but descended from the men who came into India with 
Dionysus.' •' The deputies of Nj'sa, who waited upon Alexander 
themselves told the Macedonian monarch that their city was founded 

by Dionvsns ' for Dionysus, the Greeks believed, had gone conquering 
across Asia, at the head of his revellers, in the old heroic days. The 
Greeks' Bevan says, 7 ' always experienced a keen joy of recognition, 

. .' ■, . r .. -.. i.i_: — :*.!. 4-1,.-. fi„„,-,it r,r t-lipir 


when they" could* connect foreign things with the figures of their 
own legends, and they were delighted with the suggestion. In the 
legend the -name Nvsa was specially connected with Dionysus— tt 
was the name of his nurse, or of the place where he was born or of his 
holv hill— and the name of this little town in the Hindu Kush, as it 
was pronounced to Alexander, had a similar sound. Again the legend 
said that Dionysus had been born from the thigh (mens) of Zeus, 
and a neighbouring summit, the Greeks discovered, was called Mem. 
When, moreover, the Greeks saw the sacred plants of the same god, 
viz. vine and ivy (which grew nowhere else in the land of the Indians), 
running wild over the mountain, as they knew them at home, no 
doubt coidd be left. So hostilities with these interesting kinsmen 

' Cf. Yona Kambojesu . . . dveva varyna, avyo cera dd„ca. 

> 1921, p. 29. ■ Gat„ofIniu,, V . i». 
' Car>m,ko,i Lecture,, iq2i, p. 32. 

> Cf. McCrmdle's Arteirril India : it, invasion by Akxana,, tm Great, pp. 79-8°. 
B Cliinnock's edition, p. 399. 

' Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 354. 


could not be thought of, and the Nysaeans themselves joined with 
Alexander. Three hundred of them on their mountain horses 
joined the armv of the Yavana king and followed him to battle m 
the plains of the Punjab. 1 The evidence furnished by Arrian's 
account of Nysa shows that INTysa was a Greek colony before the 
advent of Alexander to India. 2 In the inscription of Asoka, 3 we 
find mention of the Yonas along with Kambojas. 4 The question 
here arises— Who were these Yonas ? Bhandarkar in his Carmichael 
Lectures, 1921 (pp. 28ff.), points out that it is impossible to identify 
the Yonas of Rock Edict XIII with the Greeks of Bactria because 
the same edict was promulgated when Antiochus Theos, King of 
Syria, was living, his name being actually specified therein. In 
Asoka's time Bactria was included in the Syrian empire of Antiochus 
Theos. We learn from Greek historians, Tragus, Justin and Strabo, 
that it was Diodotus who first made Bactria independent. He was 
a Satrap of this province under Antiochus Theos. The death of 
Antiochus probably caused disturbance when Diodotus made himself 
independent in Bactria. So the Yonas of the Asokan inscription are 
to be located elsewhere. Bhandarkar therefore concludes : ' I suspect 
that it has to be identified with Aria or Arachosia which were the 
two provinces ceded by Seleucuos to Chandragupta and which must 
have been inherited intact by Asoka. I admit it is not possible to 
locate these Yonas exactly, but this much is certain that they were 
outside the kingdom of Antiochus Theos, and lived_ in Asoka's 
empire in a territory adjoining Gandhara but outside India.' 6 
Bhandarkar" therefore holds the view that in all likelihood, the 
Yavanas of Rock Edict XIII must have come and settled 111 large 
numbers in some outlying province of India long before _ Alexander. 
Numismatic evidence also lends support to such a view. Coins 
similar to those of the earliest type of Athens are known to have 
been collected from the north-west frontiers of India. They bear 
head of Athena on the obverse and owls on the reverse. 7 These owls 
of Athens have been picked up in Southern Arabia Felix. But none 
of the owls found in the east are of the types known from Athens. 
The coins found in Arabia might have travelled there as a result of 
commercial intercourse, for they are generally counter-marked on the 
obverse with Sabaean letters or are scratched on the reverse with a 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 354- 

* Otrmie&ael Lectures, xgn,* 32. J-^,}^1 

4 Cf. 1 < A \ f \ Li * 
Pultide) skit snvalra de-vamnn privusn dhrj.miiia'.iusli a mtv.damh .' (Sliabhazgarhl 
text— Inscriptions of Aioka, edited by Bhandarkar and Majumdar, pp. 53-4.) 

5 Carmichael Lectures, 1921, p. 26. fi Ibui -> P- 2 7- 
7 Numismatic Chronicle, XX, 191. 


Sabaean monogram. Bhandarkar argues when a foreign money for 
the first time comes into circulation along with the native coinage 
of a country, all the new specimens are tested, and those, which are 
found not deficient in weight or quality of metal, are sanctioned by 
marking them with an official stamp which may consist of a single 
letter or symbol. These official stamps which are found on the 
owls of Athens, discovered in South Arabia, are conspicuous by_ their 
absence on those found on the frontiers of India. The practice of 
putting such counter-marks on coins was not unknown in or near 
India also, .for the silver Persian sigloi which were current in the 
Punjab bear Indian counter-marks. 1 When there is no counter- 
mark, it is not reasonable to say that they were brought there m 
course of trade. Bhandarkar 2 therefore concludes: 'The_ natural 
inference must be that they were native to some outlying district of 
India which was peopled by the Yavanas or Greeks. And as the 
original owls of Athens have been assigned to circa 594-5°° B.C., 
a Greek colony, it is possible to infer, may have been established near 
India about 550 B.C.' Ray Chaudhuri 3 also notes that the exact 
situation of the Yona territory has not yet been determined. In the 
Mahavamsa (XII) we find that the Thera Maharakkhita was sent to 
the country of the Yonas. This work also refers to its chief city, 
Alasanda, which Geiger identifies with the town of Alexandria 
founded by the Macedonian conqueror near Kabul.* Not only the 
Yonas are mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka, we also find a 
Yavana official or a vassal Yavanaraja called Tushaspha ruling_ as 
governor of Surastra with his capital at Girinagara (Girnar) during 
the days of Asoka, as we learn from the Junagadh Rock Inscription 
of Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman. Vincent Smith argues that the 
form of the name shows that the Yavanaraja must have been a 
Persian. But Ray Chaudhuri contends that if Greeks and other 
foreigners adopted" Hindu names there is no wonder that some of 
them assumed Iranic appellations. There is, then, no good ground 
for assuming that Tushaspha was not a Greek, but a Persian. 
After the death of Asoka, a Yavana army crossed the Hindu Kush, 
which was the northern frontier of Asokan empire on the ruins of 
which an Indo-Greek kingdom arose. The Yuga Purana section of 
the Gargt Samhita points to the decline of Maurya power in the 
Madhyadesa when it says:'Tatah Saketam akramya Pancalam 
Mathuramstatha 1 Yavanah dustavikrantah prapsyati Kusuma- 

1 J.R.A.S., 1895, 874 and ff. 

1 Carmichael Lectures, 1921", p. 29. 

» Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 253. 

* Mahavamsa, Geiger's translation, p. 194. 


dhvaj am ( Tatah Puspapure prapte Karddame prathite hite | Akula 
visaya sarve bhavisyanti na samsayah \\' 1 In PatafijaH's Mahabhdsya 
there is a similar line: 'Arunad Yavanah Saketam: Arunad Yavano 
Madhyamikam.' According to Sir R. G. Bhandarkar this shows that 
a certain Yavana or Greek prince had besieged Saketa or Ayodhya 
and another place called Madhyamika (near Chitor) when Patafijali 
wrote this. Kalidasa in his Malavikagnimitram refers to a conflict 
between the Svmga prince Vasumitra and a Yavana on the southern 
bank of the Sindhu. The name of this invader, however, is not 
given in the Mahabhasya or the Malavikagnimitram. 2 ' It is clear at 
any rate that the extension of Yavana power to the interior of 
India was thwarted in the first instance by the Sungas. In Western 
India the rising power of the Andhras, Andhrabhrtyas or 
Satavahanas caused the last vestige of Yavana power to disappear. 
Thus from the Nasik Cave Inscription of Gautamiputra Satakami we 
learn that he destroyed the Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas. While 
in the north-west of India the Yavanas were swept away by the 
onrush of the Parthians or Pahlavas, as we learn from Chinese sources. 

1 Keru, Brhatsamhita, p. 37. 

2 Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 316. 



The Kalingas as a tribe are almost always associated with the 
Angas and Vangas in ancient Indian literature. These three tribes 
along with the Pnndras and Suhmas are said to have been named 
after the five sons "of Bali, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and 
Suhma who were called Baleya Ksatra and also Baleya Brahmanas. 1 
These five tribes evidently then lived conterminously and had their 
distinct entities within respective geographical boundaries to which 
they gave the names of their respective tribes. The tradition 
referred to above is contained in the Puranas and the Great Epic, 
according to which, the sage Dirghatamas had married King Bali's 
Sudra nurse and had Kaksivant and other sons; and at Bali's desire 
begot on the queen Sudesna the aforesaid five sons. According to 
the Great Epic again, 3 King Jarasandha is said to have extended 
his supremacy over the Ahgas, Vangas, Kalihgas and the Pundras. 
In the Dronafar van, 3 Vasudevais said to have once routed in battle the 
Angas, Vangas, Kalingas and the Panndras along with other peoples. 
A town named Kaliriganagara, evidently_one of the cities of the 
Kalinga people, is mentioned in the Rdmayana, on the west of the 
GomatT and not far from it.* A Kalinga tribe is also referred to in 
the Markandeya Purana 5 as having their settlement on the Satadru. 
Pargiter suggests that the reading is erroneous, for there seems to 
be no ground for thinking that the Kalingas lived in N. India. 6 
Moreover, the Vayupurana 7 in the same context reads Kulindas 
instead, which seems to be the correct reading. The Markandeya 
Purana s mentions another people named the Arkalihgas along with 
the Kuntalas, Kasls, Kosalas, Atharvas and the Malakas. Pargiter 
doubts tins reading as well, because of the Vayupurana reading which 
is different in the same contest. 9 The Matsyafturana reads Avantas 
and Kalingas instead, 10 but this is also hardly satisfactory in view 
of the fact that the Kalingas are hardly known to have been associated 
with the Avantas and moreover that the Kalingas are elsewhere 

1 Puranic tradition as contained in a number of Puranas, the Mahaiiharata 
and the Harivam&a. See the Dirghatamasa story and its sequel. Compare 
Pargiter, A.I.H.T., p. 158. 

2 Mahdbharuta, XII, Chap. 5, 6607. 3 Ibid., Chap, ro, 15. 
* Ayodhya K., LXXIII, 14, 15. 5 LVTT, 37. 

Markandeya Purana, p. 316 n. 7 XIiV, 116. 

8 IyVII, 33. B Markandeya Purana, p. 308 n. 10 CXIIZ, 36. 


described not only in the same Purana but^also in other Puranas 
as a people of the southern region. The Mdrkandeya, for example, 
says that they dwelt in the southern region along with the 
Maharastras, Mahisakas, Abhiras, Vaisikyas, Savaras, Pulindas and 
others. 1 " A number of famous Kalihga or Kalihga kings are men- 
tioned in the Adiparva of the Mahabharata 2 and they are credited 
with having contracted matrimonial relations with princesses of the 
Aryan roval families of the north (e.g. Adiparvan, XCV, 3774S, 
3780; Dronaparvan, LXX, 2436). According to epic evidence as 
contained in the Mahabharata, 5 the Kalinga country comprised the 
entire tract of country lying along the coast of Vaitarani in Orissa 
to the borders of the Andhra country. 1 

The country of the Kalihgas is mentioned by Pamm. 5 According 
to Baudhavana" the country was branded as an impure one and was 
included in his list of Samkirna yonayah* According to Kautilya's 
ArthaSdstra? elephants of Anga and Kalihga belonged to the best 
of their types, while those of Karusa, Dasarna and Aparanta were 
only second in order of classification, those of the Saurastras and 
allied tribes (Saurastrikah pancajanah) having been the worst. 

The Jatakas contain a number of references to the Kahnga 
country and its kings. Thus, for example, according to the 
Kumbhakdra Jdtaka, Karandu was a Kalihga and he was a con- 
temporary of Nimi, king of Videha. The Mahagovmda Suttanta 
makes Sattabhn, king of Kalihga, a contemporary of Renu, king of 
Mithila and of Dhatarattha or Dhrtarastra, king of Kasi and Ahga. 
The Jatakas also refer to the capital city of Kalihga which was 
Dantapuranagara which is probably identical with Dantakura 
mentioned in the Mahdbha'rata? Dantapura of inscriptions. 9 Other 
cities of the Kahnga country are also known, e.g. Rajapura, 10 
Simhapura, 11 which is probably identical with Smgupuram near 
Chicacole M Kaficanapura of the Jainas, 13 and Kalihganagara which 
has been identified with Mukhalihgam on the river Vamsadhara" 
Kalihga (Kalinga) is mentioned in the Niddesa. ir > From Kalihga 
the Buddha's tooth was brought to Ceylon at the time of King 
Sirimeghavanna. A Kalihga king picked up a quarrel with Aruna, 
the Assaka king of Potali, but was defeated and had to surrender. lfi 

l I.VII 46-7 2 I^XVII, 2701. 3 III, 114- 4- 

i Rav Chaudhuri, P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., p. 75. * $*• I- *?**■ 

1 1 i' 30-1. 7 II, 2. 8 V, 48-76. 

> Epigraphia Indica, XIV, p. 361. 1(l Mahabharata, XIII, 4, 3. 

I Mahdvastu, Smart's Ed., p. 432. 1B Dnbreinl, A.H.D., p. 94- 
» Indian Antiquary, 1891, p. 375. 

i Epigraphia Indica, IV, 187. lb CuUamddesa, u, 37- 
■ Jdtaka (Fausboll), III, 3»- 


Susima. a Kalinga princess, was married to a king of Vahga. 1 
Vijayabahu I married a Kalinga princess named Tllokasundari.* 
Magna, a prince of Kalinga, did a great mischief to Ceylon. 1 Asoka s 
brother Tissa spent his retirement in the Kalinga country with his 
teacher Dhammarakkhita. 4 

Important light on the history of the Kalinga people is thrown 
by Pliny, the classical historian. Prom the accounts of Diodoros 
Curtius and Plutarch, we know that at the time of Alexander's 
invasion, there were two very powerful peoples in the lower Gangetie 
valley, the Parasii (Braisioi) and the Gangaridai whose king was 
Xandrammes or Agrammes. The capital city of the Prasii was 
Palibothra or Pataliputra, while that of the Gangndai was Gangs 
at the mouth of the Ganges, according to the author of the Periplns 
of the Erythraean Sea, or at the junction of the Ganges leading to the 
Maga and Kamberikhon mouths respectively. Pliny adds a third 
important people of E. India at that time, namely the Kalingas. 
He says : 'The tribes called Kalingas are nearest the sea, and higher 
up are the Mandaei and the Malli, in whose country is mount Mallus, 
the boundary of all that district being the Ganges ... the final 
part of its course is through the country of the Gangandaes. The 
royal city of Kalinga is called Partialis. Over their king 60,000 
foot-soldiers, 1,000 horsemen and 7,000 elephants keep watch and 
ward.' An alternative reading of Pliny's text makes Gangaridae- 
Kaliriga one people, having a king, a capital city, and an army of 
their own. Pliny further mentions two more tribes which must have 
been allied with the Kalinga people proper, e.g. the Maccokalingae 
(cf . modern Mukhalingam referred to above, or is it Mukbya Kalihgah, 
the main Kalingas?) and the Modokalinga, both inhabiting an 
island in the Ganges. The capital city Parthalis of the Kalingae 
has been identified with Purvasthali, a large village about 20 miles 
from the present Burdwan town, 8 which, however, is not above 
criticism. In any case, from the description of Pliny, it is certain 
that the countries of the Gangaridae and the Kalingae were adjacent 

Agrammes or Xandrammes has been usually identified with 
Mahapadma Nanda who was king of both Prasii and Gangaridae 
Mahapadma was supplanted by Candragupta Maurya who is referred 
to by Greek writers as having been king of Prasii but nowhere is he 
mentioned as king of Gangaridae as well. The well-known Kalinga 
expedition of Asoka was, perhaps, directed against a probable 

1 Mahavamsa, VI, 1; Dipavamsa, IX, 2ff . 

* CMavamsa, LIX, 30. " Ih td., I.XXX, 5»t- 

* TheragaM Commentary, I, 506. 6 I.H.Q., IV, p. 55- 


Kalingae-Gangaridae combination of forces, suggested by an alterna- 
tive reading of Pliny referred to above. In any case, the Kalinga 
resistance must have been a very stiff one, as is evident from the 
description in the thirteenth Rock Edict. 

Kalinga is again lifted to historical prominence when Kharavela 
of the Ceta dynasty became anointed, when he had completed his 
twenty-fourth year, as Maharaja of Kalinga. In his Hathigumpha 
Cave Inscription Kalinga finds mention for more than once and it is 
said in that very inscription that in the first year of his reign he 
repaired the gates and ramparts of his capital Kalinganagara identi- 
fied with Mukhalingam. 

We do not hear of the Kalifigas or their country, so far at least 
as N. India history is concerned, for a long time, in fact not until 
we reach the time when Yuan Chwang visited the country in about 
the second quarter of the seventh century A.D. Kalidasa, however, 
in his Raghuvamsam mentions both Utkala and Kalinga, from which 
it is evident that they were two distinct countries. Yuan Chwang 
travelled from Odra to Kangoda whence he travelled through jungle 
and forest, dense' with huge trees, south-west for 1,400 or 1,500 li, 
to Kalinga (Ka-long-ka) . According to him, ' the country was above 
5,000 li in circuit, its capital being above 20 H. There were regular 
seed-time and harvest, fruits and flowers grewprofusely, and there 
were continuous woods for some hundreds of li. The country pro- 
duced dark wild elephants prized by neighbouring countries. The 
climate was hot . . . The people were . . . fast and clear in speech; 
in their talk and manners they differed somewhat from "Mid-India". 
There were few Buddhists, the majority of the people being of other 
religions. There were above ten Buddhist monasteries, and 500 
brethren students of the Mahayanist Sthavira School System. 
There were more than 100 Deva temples, and the professed adherents 
of the various sects were very numerous, the majority being 
nirgranthas.' 1 

Earlier, however, by about two centuries (i.e. fifth century A.D.) 
there is the well-known Komarti grant a which introduces us to a 
Sri Maharaja named Candravarman who is described as Kalinga- 
dhipati (lord of Kalinga). To his dynasty, probably, also belonged 
Umavarrnan and Visakhavarman who were both evidently lords of 
Kalinga. To about the same date as that of the Komarti grant, 
may be ascribed the inscription of a certain Kalingadhipati Vasisthi- 
putra Saktivarman of the Mathara family who granted from 
Pistapura (= Pithapuram) the village of Rakaluva in the Kalinga- 

1 Waiters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 198. 

2 Sewell, Historical Inscriptions of Southern India, p. 18. 


visaya. 1 In the Aihole Inscriptions (634-35 A.D.) Pulakesin II 
claims to have subdued the Kalirigas along with the Kosalas and 
took the fortress of Pistapura.* One at least of the Vakataka kings 
is credited with having conquered the Andhra and Kalinga countries; 
he was Harisena, the father-iu-law of Madhavavarman the 
Visnukundin. 3 Towards the middle of the seventh century Kalinga 
seems to have come, for a time at least, under the sway of Kamarupa. 
One of her kings, Harsadeva or Sri Harsa, is described in a con- 
temporary Nepalese inscription to have been the king of Gauda, 
Odra, Kalinga, Kosala and other countries.* 

Another reference to Kalinga we find in the Bheraghat Inscription 
of AlhanadevI, the queen of Gaya-Karna of the Kalacuri dynasty, the 
grandson of the famous Laksmikarna. It informs us that when 
Laksmikarna gave full play to his heroism, Vahga trembled with 
Kalinga. 5 King Ramapaia of the Pala dynasty also seems to have 
inflicted a defeat on Kalinga as well as on Utkala and Kamarupa. 8 
King Vijayasena of the Sena dynasty is credited with having inflicted 
a defeat on the Kalingas whose king at that time was evidently 
Raghava. 7 The Madhainagar grant of Laksmanasena informs us 
that the Gandesvara (i.e. Laksmana) in his youth took his pleasures 
with the females of Kalinga. 

The reference to Trikalinga in some of the old records is very 
interesting. The S. Indian dynasties that ruled in the northern 
districts of Madras, C.P., and Orissa assumed the title 'Lord of 
Trikalinga' or 'Trikalihgadhipati'. 8 Kalinga, evidently in a narrow 
sense, has always been distinguished in literature and sometimes also 
in epigraphs from Odra and Utkala and Kosala; but we must 
also take the Puranie statement into consideration that the 
Amarakantaka hill was situated in the western half of Kalinga 
(Kalingadese pascardhe -parvate- Amarakaniake). Mention may also 
be made in this connection to Pliny's reference to three Kalingas 
in his time, already mentioned: (i) the Gangaridae-Calingae, the 
Kalingas who lived conterminously with the Gangaridae, (2} the 
Macco-Calingae, either the Mekala-Kalingas or (Macco = Muka = 

1 Ep. Ind., XII, pp. iff. • z Ibid., VI, pp. 4ft". 

8 J.R.A.S., 1914, p. 137. 

* Ind. Ant, 1880, Vol. IX, p. 179; J.R.A.S., 1898, pp. 384-5; I.H.Q., 1927, 
p. 841. 

s Ep. Ind., Vol. II, p. 11. 

B Ramacarita, II, 45 and 47. 7 Deopara Inscription. 

8 E.g., the Sotiptir grant of Mahasiragupta Yayati where the king is described 
as suck. The same king is described in one of his grants as having been elected 
king of Kalinga, Kangoda, Utkala and Kosala. Karigoda is certainly the Kung- 
YG-t'u of Ynan Chwang, when the pilgrim went to Kaleng-ka, cf. the Narasapatam 
giant of TrikalingSdhipati Vajrahastadeva. 


three) the Muka-Kalihgas (perhaps identical with Mukhalihgam) and 
(5) the Calingae proper. The word Tilang which we meet with in 
some Arabic records x evidently is a corruption of tins Trikalmga which 
is also responsible for the term Tabling used to designate the ancient 
people of Lower Burma or Ramafinadesa who must have originally 
migrated from the Trikalinga countries. The term Kling applied 
to the people of Malay Peninsula must have originally been derived 
from Kalhiga which seems to have been the original home of the 
Klihg people. 

L E.g., see Elliot, History of India as told by her mm Historians, Vol. Ill, p. 234. 



The earliest mention of the Andhras as a tribe is to be found 
along with the Savaras, Pulindas and probably also the Mutibas, in 
the Aitareya Brakmana where all these tribes are referred to as 
dasyus or non-Aryans. 1 In the gatapatha Brakmana also, the 
Andhras are mentioned along with the Pundras, Savaras, Puhndas 
and the Mntibas.* Vincent Smith is of opinion that the Andhras 
were a Dravidian-spealdng people and were evidently the progemtors 
of the modern Telegu-speaking people occupying the deltas of the 
Godavari and the Krsna,' while P.T.S. Iyangar also holds that the 
Andhras were originally a Vindhyan tribe that extended its political 
power from the west gradually to the east down the Godavari and 
the Krsna valleys. 4 That the Andhras were indigenous to the 
Deccari'is attested to by both the epics; the Mahabhdrata says 
that they were Daksina-patha-janmanah, while the Ramayana 
contiects them with the Godavari : 

Daksina-patha-janmanah sarve naravarandhrakah, 
Guh'ah Pulindah Savaras Cukuka Madrakaih (?) saha. 

_ (Mbh., XII, 207, 42.) 
Nadlm Goddvarlm caiva sarvamevanupas'yatah, 
Tathaivandkramica Pundramsca coldn Pandramicakebalan. 

{Ram., Kish. Kan., 41, Chap. II.) 

That the Andhras occupied the Godavari-Krsna valley is further 
upheld by one of the earliest records of the Pallava dynasty that 
flourished in the Andhra region. The Mayidavohl plates of the 
early Pallava ruler Sivaskandavatman prove that the Andhrapatha 
or the region of the Andhras embraced the Krsna district with 
Dhannakada or Eezwada as its capital. 5 

The Markandeya Parana* mentions in the list of peoples 
inhabiting the eastern countries a tribe called the Andhrarakas which 
is substituted by the Andhravakas.' But both seem to be mis- 
readings for the Andhras who were always a people of the southern 
regions, as also in view of the fact that the same Markandeya Purina 

1 Aitareya B7., VII, 18. . , , „.^,.,-. 

a 'Antan vah prajah taksista Hi, etc. Andiirali Pundrdh Savarah Pidmdah MGttOan 
Hi uddyantdh vahaboh bhavanti,' 

• Ini. Ant., 1913, pp. 376-8. * > hd -r '9 lS . P- 7 1 - 

' Ef. lnd., VI, p. 88. • Canto I.VII, 42. > XLV, 122. 


places a people called the Andhas along with the Maulikas, Asmakas, 
Bhogavardhanas, Naisikas, Kuntalas, etc., in the southern region. 1 
The reading Andhas is also corrected in the Vayupurana as 
Andhras. 3 These peoples are mentioned in the Mahabharata in the 
Udyogaparvan and BMsmaparvan as Andhakas and Andhras respec- 
tively. 3 According to the Sabhaparvan and Vanaparvan, 1 the 
Andhas or Andhras were a rude uncivilised people. 

The earliest epigraphic mention of the Andhra people is made 
in some of the edicts (XIII, R.K.) of Asoka where the Andhras, 
Palidas (Paladas, Parimdas = the Pulindas, or the Paradas), Bhojas 
and Rathikas (Rastrikas) are said to have been vassal tribes of the 
great Maurya. The Andhra people are also referred to by Pliny 
who savs that the Andarae or Andhras possessed a very large number 
of villages, thirty towns defended by walls and towers, and supplied 
their king with an army of 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 
elephants. 5 

The founder of the great Satavahanas, Simuka, who is credited 
by the Puranas to have assailed the Kanvayanas and destroyed the 
remains of the Suhga power in about the first century B.C. is said 
to have started a dynasty that ruled over the Daksinapatha, for 
about zso years. The Satavahanas are claimed by the Puranas to 
have been "Andhras or Andhrabhrtyas. The exact significance of 
this appellation cannot, however, be determined but doubtless they 
ruled over the whole of Andhradesa and the adjoining regions. 

In the Haraha Inscription of the Maukhari king Kumaragupta III 
|« 4 AD)a certain ' lord of the Andhras ' (Andhradhipati) is said to 
have given the Maukhari king a great trouble by his 'thousands of 
three-fold rutting elephants'.' Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri suggests 
that the Andhra king referred to was probably Madhavavarman (I, 
Tavairava) of the Polamuru plates belonging to the Visnukuiidm 
family. 7 " This suggestion seems to be in agreement with the fact 
that the Jaunpur Inscription of Isvaravarman, father of Isanavarman 
Maukhari, refers to victory over the Andhras on behalf of 
Isvaravarman.' The Vakataka king Harisena, father-m-law of 
Madhavavarman of the Visnukundin family referred to above, also 
claims to have conquered the Andhra and Kalihga regions." 

The Iksvakus succeeded the Satavahanas in the rule of the 
Andhra region where almost all the records of the dynasty have 

H.VIT,48-9" ' «»■ "?■ 

3 XVIII, 586 and X, 357 respectively. 

* IV ire.' XXX, 1175; XXXIII, 1270 and Vanapatvm, LI, 1988. 

. «."«;.. d£ p. 339. ; fi n^j"- IIOff ' 

' P.H.A.t., 4th Ed., p. 5»9- CJ ■' " n1, p ' 3 

» J.RA.5., r9i4, p. 137- 


been found. At the time of Pallava Sivaskandavarman, the 
Andhrapatha or the Andhra country seems to have come under the 
swav of the Pallava dynastv whose headquarters at this time were 
at Dhamnakada (Dhanya-kataka). According to the Puranas the 
Andhra "(i.e. the Satavahana) dynastv had five different branches' 
In fact, one of these five blanches, namely, the Cutusatakarm branch, 
is known from inscriptions, coins and literary references to have 
rilled in the Kuntala country before the Kadambas." The Vaytt- 
purana in the same context referred to above mentions the Abhtras 
who ruled after the Andhras (i.e. the Satavahanas). 

In about the second quarter of the seventh century A.D., the 
celebrated Chinese pilgrim Hsiian Tsang visited the An-to-lo or the 
Andhra country. The nearest transcription of An-to-lo is Andara 
which is comparable to Pliny's Andarae referred to above, though 
doubtless it means the Andhra country. From Kosala (evidently 
South Kosala), the pilgrim travelled south, through a forest, for 
above 900 li to the An-to-lo country which 'had a rich fertile sod 
with a moist hot climate; the people were of violent character; their 
mode of speech differed from that of "Mid-India", but they followed 
the same system of writing. There were twenty odd Buddhist 
monasteries with more than 3,000 brethren. Near the capital was a 
large monastery with a succession of high walls and storeyed 
terraces . . .'. 8 

The name of the capital of the country as given by the pilgrim 
was Ping-H-lo which does not seem to have as yet been correctly 
identified, though Cunningham sought to equate it with Warangal. 

We have seen above that in the time of Pallava 
Sivaskandavarman, Dharyakataka was the capital of the Andhra- 
patha, but Hsiian Tsang seems to refer to Dhanyakataka as a region 
separate from Andhra. The pilgrim proceeds to relate that from 
Andhra he continued his journey south, through wood and jungle, 
for over 1,000 li, and reached the Te-na-ka-che-ka country which was 
above 6,000 li in circuit, and its capital was above 40 li m circuit. 
Te-na-ka-che-ka has been equated with Dhanyayakataka or 
Dhanakataka. 4 

1 E.g. Vdyu P., 99, 358. ' Andhrdndm scmsthitdh panca leshdm vamidk samdh 

= Sircar, Successors of the Sdlvvdliavi^, pp. 2i8ff. For a summary of the 
historical vicissitudes of Andhradesa after the Satavahanas, see ibid., pp. 3-5 of the 

3 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. n, p. zog. 

* Watters, ibid.. Vol. II, pp. 2r4Jf. But there are scholars who hold that Yuan 
Chwang's description of the city and its surroundings does not suit the identification. 
Fergusson, Burgess and Sewell therefore locate the city at Bezwada. Cunningham, 
A.G.I., Majumdar's Ed. , notes, p. 737. 


'The country' had a rich soil and yielded abundant crops; there 
was much waste land and the inhabited towns were few; the climate 
was warm, and the people were of black complexion, violent dis- 
position, and fond of the arts. There was a crowd of Buddhist 
monasteries but most of them were deserted, about 20 being in use, 
with 1,000 brethren mostly adherents of the Maha.saiighika system. 
There were about 100 Deva temples and the followers of the various 
sects were numerous 

Stray references to the Andhra country and people are made 
in later epigraphic records as well. Thus the Indian Museum 
inscription of the ninth year of Narayanapaladeva of the Pala dynasty 
refers to the Andhra-vaisayika Sakyabhiksu Sthavira Dharmamitra 
who erected an image, evidently of the Buddha. 

The Pali Buddhist literature is not wanting in references to the 
Andhras. The Apadana, 1 a book of the Pali Canon, mentions 
Andhakas along with the Mundakas, Kolakas and Chias who came 
to show respect to a banker's son named Jatnkannika in the town of 

"A young brahmin after completing his education at Takkasila. 
(Taxila), then a great seat of learning, came to the Andhra country 
to profit by practical experience. 2 Assaka and Alaka or Mulaka 
were the two Andhaka kings. 3 A brahmin well versed in mantras 
belonging to the kingdom of Kosala came to live in the kingdom of 
Assaka on the banks of the Godavari.* 

1 Pt. II, p. 359. 

2 jat. [I, pp. 356(1 (Faiiaboll)] . Cowell means Mahimsakurattha by Andhradesa 
well, Jai., I, p. 203). 

3 Suttanipata Commentary, IT, p. 581. 
* Sttitanipata , p. 190. 


The Damilas, 1 commonly known as the Tamils, were a powerful 
S. Indian tribe, frequently mentioned in Buddhist texts, parti- 
cularly the Ceylon Chronicles (Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Culavatnsa). 
It is interesting to note that a Vinaya Commentary called Vimati- 
vinodani was written by Kassapa Thera, an inhabitant of the 
kingdom of Damila. 2 In the Mahavamsa Tika, however, we are told 
that the Damilas were disrespectful to the Buddhist stupas. s 

From the Pah Chronicles we find that the Damijas were a warlike 
people. From early times they made incursions into Ceylon, and 
we frequently find Damila rulers on the throne at Anuradhapura. 
For instance' in 177 B.C., two Damilas, Sena and Gutta, are said to 
have conquered King Suratissa {187-177 B.C.) and ruled the island 
of Lanka (= Ceylon) for twenty-two years. 4 In the second and 
first centuries B.C. the island of Lanka was very much troubled by 
the Damilas who became very turbulent. A Damila king named 
Elara reigned in Lanka, from 145 B.C. till 101 B.C., and was then 
defeated and dethroned by the famous Dutthagamani, 'himself a 
great warrior, accompanied by ten great heroes'. 6 In the 
Mahavamsa Tika we read that Dutthagamani fought with the 
Damilas,' 9 killing large numbers of them, 7 and made a single realm 
of Ceylon. 8 This story is elaborated in the Sumangalavilasim 
(p. 640') . B Here we read that ' Dutthagamani Abhaya ', after defeating 
32 Damila kings and being crowned at Anuradhapura as undisputed 
ruler of Ceylon, was so highly delighted that he did not sleep for a 
month. The Thupavamsa (p. 59) further says that Dutthagamani 
defeated the Damilas at Mahiyarigana, where he built a golden cetiya 

1 We may note that the word 'Dravidian' comes from the ethnic name 
' Dravi^a' , or ' Dramida', or 'Damila', 
a Sasanavamsa, 33. 

3 Mahavamsa Tika, p. 447 (P.T.S. Ed.). 
* Dipavamsa, 18, 47. 
5 Mahdbodhivamsa, p. 133. 
B Mahavamsa flka, p. 24. 

7 Ibid., p. 489^-the phrase is 'ghatetva Damile sabbe' , 'killing all the Damilas , 
but this is probably poetic licence. 

8 'Ekarajjam katva'—ibid., p. 437; and see p. 100. 

9 Cf. Thupavamsa (P.T.S. Ed. by B. C. Law), p. 63, and B. C. Law, History oj 
Pali Literature, Vol. II, p. 577. 


and worshipped it. On another occasion, he conquered the Damilas 
'on the other side of the Ganges' (Gangaya paratire). 1 

Many Damilas were also killed by Velusumano, a general of 
Dtttthagamani, after they had taken refuge in the city called 
Vijitanagara' (or Vijitapura). Thereupon Dutthagamani 's troops 
went to Giriloka, where a Damila general named Giriya was slain. % 
King Kakavanria Tissa, Dutthagamani 's father, had also fought 
with the Damilas at Mahiyangana , where he built a golden stiipa. 3 
In order to put a check on the Damijas he kept guards at the fords 
of the Mahaganga.* 

In 43 B.C., in the fifth month of Vattagamani's reign, a Brahmin 
named Tissa rose against him, but was defeated by seven Damilas 
who landed at Mahatittha. Then these Damilas waged war against 
Vattagamani and defeated him at Kolambalaka. For fourteen years, 
Vattagamani and his queen Anula were exiled, and during this 
period five Damilas ruled in succession at Anuradhapura. First 
came Pulahattha who ruled this city for three years, and appointed 
a Damila named Bahiya as his commander (senapati). 5 Bahiya 
succeeded Pulahattha, and was followed in his turn by Panayamara, 
Pijayamara, and Dathika. Meanwhile, Vattagamani was staging a 
comeback, and in 29 B.C. he attacked and slew Dathika, regained his 
throne, and reigned until If B.C. 

Some years later (between 12 and 16 A.D.), the wicked queen 
Anula poisoned all her husbands in succession; among them were 
two Damilas, namely Vatuka and Niliya. 7 Though there must have 
been Damila incursions during the succeeding four centuries, we 
have no definite dates until 433 A.D. when a Damila usurper named 
Panduka reigned in Ceylon for five years, after killing King 
Mittasena. 8 A little later, another Damila usurper named Pithiya 
ruled at Anuradhapura for seven months, and was then killed in 
battle. 8 

More Damilas were killed by Mana, 10 eldest son of Kassapa II 
(641-650 A.D.). We then have another gap in the chronology, until 

1 Mahavamsa Tika, p. 476. The Ganges in this case is the 'Great River' of 
Ceylon (= Mahavalukaganga). 

s Ttiupavamsa (P.'f.S. Ed. by B. C. taw), p. 62; Mahavamsa Tiki, pp. 475, 
479; and see Malalasekera, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, s.v. Velusumano, 
Dutthagatnani, and Giriya. 
"a Thapavamsa, V .58. 

* Mahavamsa Tika, p. 448. 5 Hnd-, p. 017. 

« This Dathika must be identical with the Satbika or Dathika who is mentioned 
in the Dipavamsa (19, r6) as having been killed by ' Abhaya, son of Saddbatissa , 
i.e. by Vattagamani. 

i Mahavamsa Tika, p. 626. s Ciilavamsa (P.T.S.), V- 22 - 

» Ibid., v .'24. ' m Ibid., p. 71. 


the time of Parakkamabahu I of Ceylon (1153-1186 A.D.). During 
this period, Kulasekhara, a Cholian king of S. India, besieged the 
Pandyan king, Parakkama of Madliura, and the latter appealed for 
help' to Parakkamabahu who sent an expeditionary force to S. India 
where they carried on a prolonged campaign against Kulasekhara 
and his allies, in the course of which the fortress of Semponmari 
was conquered by the Sinhalese. 1 Meanwhile, the Pandyan king 
had been killed, but the Sinhalese defeated Kulasekhara and installed 
Parakkama's son on the throne of Madhura. 8 About a century 
later, a powerful Damija general named Ariyacakkavatti laid waste 
the kingdom of Ceylon, entered the town of Subhagiri, seized all its 
sacred treasures, including the Buddha's tooth relic, and returned 
with them to the Pandu kingdom, then ruled over by another 
Kulasekhara (1268-1308 A.D.). 3 

A study of the Buddhist texts clearly shows that the Damilas 
were a fighting people, engaged in constant strife with the Sinhalese. 
They are described as ' anariya ' or uncultured. They were defeated 
and" mercilessly massacred in almost all their battles with the 
Sinhalese; on one occasion, as we read in the Mahavamsa 
Commentary,* the Damijas were killed in such large numbers that 
the water of a pond became red on account of the profuse flow of 
Damila blood. They are said to have used red-hot iron balls and 
molten pitch against their enemies. 5 

The literary tradition of Ceylon does not clearly indicate who 
these Damila invaders were. But, as we have seen above, the general 
Ariyacakkavatti, for example, came from the Pandu kingdom, i.e. 
the" land of the Pandyas in the southernmost part of India; and 
we may perhaps conclude from this that the Damilas who made 
predatory excursions into the island of Ceylon from time to time 
were natives of Pandya. We cannot tell, however, whether those 
Damilas who invaded Ceylon in early times were sent on then- 
expeditions by the king of Pandu, or whether they were a race of 
marauders who undertook those expeditions on their own initiative. 
The Commentaries of Buddhaghosa distinguish the Damilas from 
the Yavanas and Kiratas on the one hand, and from the Andhras on 
the other. 

The relations between the Damila country and Ceylon were 
not alwavs inimical. For instance, the account of Vijaya in the 
Mahavamsa 9 distinctly brings out that a matrimonial alliance 

1 CHlavatnsa (P.T.S.), p. 402. 

2 See Malalasekera, op. cit., s.v. Kulasekhara. 

3 Otiavamsa, p. 512. * P- 4° 2 - 

s Ibid., ^477- • Vn.ya. 


existed between the rulers of Lanka and Pandya. It is also men- 
tioned that there was a very early settlement in Ceylon of skilled 
craftsmen and families of the eighteen guilds, all from Pandya. 
There existed a close cultural relationship and constant intercourse 
between S. India and Ceylon; notable centres of Buddhist learning 
mentioned in Pah works being Kaveripattana, Madhura and 
Kancipura (modern Conjeeveram) . 



The Savaras or Sabaras referred to in both the Great Epics were 
a non-Aryan tribe. The earliest mention of them is to be found in 
the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, i8), where it is stated that the elder 
sons of Visvamitra were cursed to become progenitors of such 
servile races as Andhras, Pundras, Savaras, Pulindas and Mutibas. 1 
The implication of this passage seems to be that the Savaras were a 
non-Aryan people dwelling somewhere in the Daksinapatha. The 
Matsya and Vayu Puranas definitely locate them in the south, 
describing them as Daksinapathavasinah. 3 The Mahabharata (XII, 
207, 42) also places them in the Deccan along with the Andhras and 
Pulindas: — 

Daksinapathajanmanah sarve naravardndhrakah 
Guhah Pulindah Savardi Cucuka Madrakaih (?) saha. 

Ptolemy 3 mentions a country called Sabarai which is generally 
held to be identical with the region inhabited by the Savaras. 
Cunningham identifies the Sabarai of Ptolemy with Pliny's Suari, 
and further identifies both with the aboriginal Savaras or Suars, 
a wild race who lived in the woods and jungles without any fixed 
habitations, and whose country extended as far southward as the 
Pennar river. These Savaras or Suars are only a single branch of a 
widely spread race found in large numbers to the south-west of 
Gwafior and Marwar and S. Rajputana where they are known as 
Surrius. 4 

The Ramayana story of the Savara women who were deeply 
attached to Ramacandra also seems to indicate that the Savaras 
were a wild tribe inhabiting the forest regions of the south. 5 

1 Roth, Zur Litieratur und GeschicMe des Weda, p. 133. 

2 Matsya P., 144, 46-8; Vayu P., 45, 126. 

3 McCrindle: Ptolemy's Ancient India, Ed. S. N. Majumdar, p. 173. 
■» Ibid., p. 173. 

5 See Ramayana, I, I, 55 sq. (Cf. Ram., Ill, 77, 6 sq.) 


The Mutibas were a non-Aryan barbarian (Dasyu) tribe, men- 
tioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 18) along with the Andhras, 
Puhndas and Savaras. They are also probably referred to in the 
Sdnkhayana Srauta Sutra (XV, 26, 6) under the name Mucipas or 
Muvfpas. 1 

The location of the Mutibas is not definitely known, but as they 
are mentioned along with the Savaras and Puhndas who, according 
to the Puranas a and the Mahabharata, 3 were ' daksinapathavasinah ' 
or located in the south, it may be surmised that the Mutibas also 
were a southern tribe. This is also indicated by the fact that the 
Andhras with whom they are associated were also a southern people. 

The Mutibas were probably the same as the Modubae of Pliny, 
who are said to have dwelt beyond the Modo-Galingae, a tribe 
occupying a large island in the Ganges ; though it is difficult to account 
for the Mutibas evidently a southern tribe, coming to occupy a region 
not very far from the Ganges. 

The Mutibas do not seem to have been an important tribe; they 
are scarcely mentioned in the historical period. 

not altogether improbable that the Mucipas are the people who appear 
Purana (57, 46) under the designation of Miishika. A com- 

parison of the 'Aitareya Brahmana with the SCmkh.'i.yniia Srauta Siltra betrays a good 
deal of confusion ■.■.ilk regard to the second and third consonants of the name. It 
was, therefore, perfectly natural for later generations to introduce further variations. 
The Mushikas m.-re probably settled on the banks of the river Musi on which 
Hyderabad now stands ' {P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., p. 80). 

2 Vayu P., 45, 126; Matsya P., 114, 46-8. 

3 XII, 207, 42. 


The Pulindas were a people belonging to the aboriginal stock, 
and have often been classed with such non-Aryan tribes as the 
Sabaras, Abhiras, Pulkusas, etc. They are usually definitely stated 
to be a southern tribe, but there seems to have been a northern 
branch of the Pulindas as well. 

The association of the Pulindas with the Andhras and Savaras, 
as also with the Pundras and Mutibas, is as old as the Aitareya 
Brahmana (VII, 18)* 'where it is stated that the elder sons of 
Visvamitra were cursed to become progenitors of such races as the 
Andhras, Pundras, Savaras, Pulindas and Mutibas. 1 

The Mahabharata * places the Pulindas in the Daksinapatha 
(Deccan), along with the Andhras, Guhas, Savaras, Cucukas and 
Madrakas. The Matsya and Vayu Purdnas 3 also describe them as 
Daksinapatha-vasinah (dwelling in the Deccan), along _with the 
Vaidarbhas, Dandak'as, Vindhyas and others. The Markandeya 
Purana 4 too places the Pulindas in the Deccan, and classes them 
with the Pundrakas, Keralas, Kalingas, Abhiras, Andhras, Vidarbhas 
and Kuntalas. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (2, 4, 18} associates them 
with the Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pukkusas, Abhiras, Suhmas, 
Yavanas and Khasas, 'all of whom sought the protection of Sri 
Krsna. _ . _ 

In the Bengali recension of the Ramdyana (Ktskindhya is.., 
XLI, 17; XLIV, 12), the Pulindas appear both in the south and in 
the north. The northern recension knows only of the northern 
Pulindas (Kiskindhyd K., XLIII). The Visnupurana B asso- 
ciates the Pulilidakas (probably identical with the Pulindas) with the 
Sindhus: the two peoples are coupled in a compound— Sindhu- 

1 Roth, Zur Litteratur mid Geschichte des Weda, p. 133. 

2 XII, 207, 42. 

s Tesam pare janapada Daksinapatha-vasinah 
Kdru a ) ih Savarasiatha 

PuUtida Vinakvapiisikti Vaidarhhd Dandakaik saha (Matsya, 114, 46-8). 
Abhlrah saha caifjtah AiavvJli Savarasca ye 

Pulind'a Viiidhviimsrfixa VxidiirUiii Dandakaik saha {Vayu, 45, 126). 
4 57 45-8 The Pulindas are also mentioned in the Brahmtinda Purana (see 
Purva Bhaga, 16, 4off.), Brahma P. (27, 4iff.), Vdmana P. (13, 35^-). Garuda *j 
(55, ioff.). 

& See Wilson, Visnu P. tr„ Vol. 2 (1865I, pp. 156!?. 


Pulindakas— and are mentioned together with the Karfisas, Bhojas, 
Dasarnas, Mekalas, Utkalas and other tribes. The compound 
Sindhu-Pulindaka also occurs in the Mahabharata (6, 346fT.) and 
Padmapurana (III, 6, 4ff.). The Pulindas are alluded to in the 
Raghuvamsa as well (XVI, 32), but there is hardly any clue to their 
geographical location. 

The capital of the (soiithern) Pulindas was Pulindanagara which 
lay to the south-east of Dasama, i.e. in the Vidisa or Bhilsa region, 
and may have been identical with Rupnath, the find-spot of one 
recension of Minor Rock Edict I of Asoka. 1 

At the time of Asoka, the Pulindas, together with the Andhras, 
Bhojas and Rastrikas, formed a group of vassal tribes within the 
Emperor's dominions, 2 which extended as far south as the Pennar 
river in the Nellore district, just stopping short of the Tamil kingdoms, 
wluch are referred to as Pracamta or frontier states. 

Some interesting information about the Pulindas is supplied 
by Ptolemy. According to him, the Pulindas seem to have been 
located along the banks of the Nannada, to the frontiers of Larjke 
or Lata = Gujarat; for he describes them as occupying a region 
northward of Nasik, Ozene (= Ujjain), Minnagara, Larika or 
Latadesa (= Gujarat), Barygaza (— Bharukaccha = Broach), etc. 
His epithet for the tribe is 'Agriophagoi',— a Greek word indicating 
that they were a tribe that subsisted on raw flesh and wild roots 
and fruits. 

Yule in his map locates the Pulindas to the north-east of the 
Gulf of Cutch. 

1 P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., pp. 79, 258. 

2 Rock Edict, V and XIII. 


The Kuntalas are twice mentioned in the Mdrkandeya Parana 
list of tribes, once in connection with the peoples of Kasi and Kosala 
(LVTI, 33), which means that they were a Madhyadesa tribe, and else- 
where (LVII, 48) along with the Asinakas, Bhogavardhanas, Naisikas, 
Andhras, etc., which suggests that they were a people of the Deccan. 
The BhTsmaparvan of the Mahabharata, however, seems to locate the 
people in three different regions. One verse (IX, 347) seems to 
locate them in the Madhyadesa, while another (IX, 367) in the 
Deccan which is also upheld by a reference apparently to the same 
people in the Karnaparvan (XX, 779). A third reference in the 
BhTsmaparvan (IX, 359) suggests location of the tribe somewhere in 
the western region. Ciumingham points out {A.S.R., XI, 123) that 
the country of the Kuntalas of the Madhyadesa should be identified 
with the region near Chunar which he calls Kuntila. Whatever be 
the merit of the identification, the Kuntalas of the Madhyadesa 
do not seem to have attained to any historical eminence. The 
Kuntalas of the west also have hardly any place in history. But the 
Kuntalas of the Deccan appear to have risen to considerable impor- 
tance in historical times as will be evident from subsequent details. 

Literary and epigraphic references have now proved beyond 
doubt that there were several families of the Satakamis of the 
Deccan, and one or more of these families ruled over Kuntala of the 
Kanarese districts before the Kadambas (Ray Chaudhuri, P.H.A.I., 
4th Ed., 339-40). One member mentioned in the Matsyapir/ana 
list is actually called Kuntala Satakarni, a name that is commented 
upon by the commentator of Vatsyayana's Kdmasutra. He takes, 
the word ' Kuntala ' in the name Kuntala Satakarni to mean ' Kuntala- 
visaye jatatvat tatsamakhyah'. A Satavahana of Kuntala is also 
referred to in the Kavyamimdmsa of Rajasekhara. This king ordered 
the use of Prakrit to the exclusion of every other language by the 
ladies of his inner apartments. He has often been identified with 
king Hala who hailed from Kuntala {Kavyamimdmsa notes, p. 9). 

According to certain Mysore Inscriptions, 1 the Kuntala region 
included the southern part of the Bombay Presidency and the 

1 Rice, Mysore and Coorg from Inscriptions, p. 3; Fleet, Dynasties of the 
Karnirese Districts, p. 284, f.n. 2. 


northern portion of Mysore, and it was ruled at one time by the 
kings of the Nanda dynasty. 

Kuntala figured in history also in later times. An Ajanta 
Inscription credits the Vakataka king Prthivisena I with having 
conquered the lord of Kuntala. Another Vakataka king Harisena 
claimed victories over Kuntala along with Lata, Avanti, Andhra, 
Kalinga, etc. 


The Rastrikas are mentioned for the first time in the Rock 
Edicts of Asoka (V and XIII), along with the Andhras, Pulindas 
and Bhojas who were included as vassal tribes within Asoka's 
dominions. The Andhras, Pulindas and Bhojas were known as 
early as the time of the Aitareya Brahmana, but the Rastrikas 
find no mention there. The tribe had evidently not come into 
importance at that time. 

Even after Asoka's time the Rastrikas continued to be associated 
with the Bhojas. In the Hathigumpha Inscriptions of King 
Kharavela of Kalinga (c. 150 B.C.), that monarch is said to have 
defeated the Bhojakas and Rathikas (i.e. the Bhojas and Rastrikas 
of Asokan inscriptions) in the fourth year of his reign, and to have 
compelled them to do him homage. 

The Satavahana records refer to two tribes, Mahabhojas and 
Maharathis (Smith, Aioka, 4th Ed., p. 225}, who were evidently 
identical with the earlier Bhojas and Rastrikas, and it is clear that the 
Rastrikas or Maharathis were the ancestors of the present Maharastra 
people or Marathas (cf. R. G. Bhandarkar, Anc. History of the 

The Bhojas were located in the Vidarbha or modern Berar 
region, which is included within modern Marathi-speaking districts. 
The Rastrikas who were so frequently associated with them must 
have occupied the adjoining tracts, and it may be assumed that they 
were located in the very region where the present Marathas dwell. 



The Puranas make a mess in the mention of this people. The 
Markandeytt Purdna in one context reads it as Naisikas (LVII, 48), 
but in 'the same canto in another context reads it as Nasikyavas 
(LVII, 51), and stillin another place correctly as Nasikyas (LVIII- 24) 
There is no doubt that at all these places one and the same people of 
ancient Nasik is meant. The Vdyupumna reads Nairnikas (XIA 
j 27) which the Mdrkandeya Parana reads Naisikas, and instead of 
Nasikyavas of the same source, it reads Nasikyas. The Matsya- 
pumna reads Vasikas (CXIII, 511). This confusion makes it evident 
that the people and the region were not so widely celebrated. This 
people moreover does not seem to have been known to the authors of 
the Epics. 


The Asmakas or Assakas formed one of the Ksatriya_ tribes of 
ancient India. They are not mentioned in the Vedic literature, 
but we find them referred to in the Epics and Puranas. In an 
enumeration of the countries in ' Bharata varsa ', the land of the 
Asmakas is mentioned along, with those of the most prominent 
Ksatriya peoples of ancient India, such as_the Kurus and Surasenas. 1 
In the "different recensions of the Mahabharata, the name of the tribe 
varies, being spelt either Asmaka or Asvaka. In Pali Buddhist 
literature, the name is Assaka which, as Rhys Davids points out, 
may be the vernacular equivalent of either Asmaka or Asvaka. He 
continues: 'Either there were two distinct tribes so called, or the 
Sanskrit form Asvaka is a wrong reading or a blunder in the 
Sanskritization of Assaka'. 2 The Greek writers mention a people 
called the Assakenoi in eastern Afghanistan and the Kunar valley, 
with their chief town at Massaga or Masakavati. 

In the Mahabharata, there is some confusion between the 
Asmakas and the Asvakas, and some of the passages appear to 
contradict one another. In the Jayadrathavadhaparvadhyaya* 
the Asmakas are found ranged on the Pandava side in the Kuruksetra 
war; on the other hand, an 'Asmaka-dayada', or a relative of the 
Asmaka monarch, is said to have been killed in battle by Abhimanyu 
(VII, 37, 1605) ; and the same person is also referred to as ' Asmakasya 
suta 1 (son of Asmaka) in the verse immediately following {VII, 37, 
1606). An Asmakesvara (king of Asmaka) is also spoken of here 
(VII, 37, 1608). In a list of the tribes conquered by Karna, the 
Asmakas are mentioned along with the Vatsas, Kalihgas, Rsikas, etc. 
(VIII, 8, 237). In the Zdiparvan, a Rajarsi Asmaka, son of Vasistha 
and Madayanti, wife of Kalmasapada, is mentioned, and the story of 
his birth is referred to.* The same king, who is called a Vasistha, 
is said to have founded Paudanya (I, 177, 6791). 

Panini mentions Asmaka in one of his Sutras (IV, I, 173). 

The Anguttara Nikaya, 5 like the Puranas, 8 tells us that Assaka 
was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas of Jambudlpa (India). It 

1 Bhismaparvan, Chap. 9, p. 822. 2 Buddhist India, p. 28. 

a VII, 85, 3049- * *• I22 ' 4737- 

b I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260. 

« Padmapurana, Svargakhanda, Chap. Ill; Vi$nudharmottaramahapura.rta, 
Chap. IX. 


had an abundance of food and gems, and was wealthy and prosperous. 
From the Mahdgovinda Suttanta, we learn that Potana was the 
(capital) city of the Assakas. 1 

In the Suttanipdta* one of the oldest works of the Pali 
Buddhist literature, the Assaka or Asmaka country is associated with 
Mulaka with its capital Patitthana (Paithan), and mentioned as 
situated on the bank of the river Godavarl, immediately to the south 
of Patitthana. The same passage speaks of a Brahman guru called 
Bavari'who, having left the Kosala country, settled near a village 
on the Godavarl in the Assaka territory in the Daksiniipatha. 3 

Rhys Davids points out that the country is mentioned together 
with Avanti, in the same way as Anga is with Magadha, and its 
position in the list of Mahajanapadas, between Siirasena and Avanti, 
makes it appear probable that when the list was drawn up, Asmaka 
was situated immediately north-west of Avanti. In that case, the 
settlement on the Godavarl was a later colony, and this is confirmed 
by the fact that there is no mention of Potana (or Potali) in the 
list.* Further, Asanga in his Sutrdlankara mentions an Asmaka 
country in the basin of the Indus; and we have already noted that 
the Greek writers knew of a people called the ' Assakenoi ' in eastern 

The legendary story of the origin of Asmaka, founder of the 
tribe, barelv mentioned in the Mahdbhdrata, is narrated in full in the 
Brhanndradiva Pittana. Once Sudasa, who is often identified with 
the Rgvedic'liero who won the battle of the ten kings, went to the 
forest to hunt. He killed a tiger, and the dying animal took the 
shape of a terrible monster bent on wreaking vengeance on the king. 
An occasion soon presented itself. When Vasistha, the king's priest, 
had departed after performing a sacrifice for Sudasa, the monster 
assumed the form of the priest, appeared before the king, and asked 
him to prepare meat for him to eat . The monster once more changed 
his appearance, and appeared before King Sudasa in the guise of a 
cook. When ordered bv the king to prepare a dish of meat for 
Vasistha, he cooked human flesh ; and the king offered the dish to the 
genuine Vasistha when he arrived. Vasistha thought the; king to be 
wicked in offering him meat; and when, after meditation, he dis- 
covered that it was actuallv human flesh, he cursed the king, saying 
that he would become a monster, greedy for human flesh. When the 
king told him that it was (supposedly) by Vasistha's own order that 
the dish had been prepared, the Rsi meditated once more, learnt the 

i Digha, II, p. 235. 

3 D. R. Bhandarkar, CarmichiA Lectures, igitt, p. 4; 

* Buddhist Lndia, pp. 27-8. 


whole truth and modified his curse to have effect for twelve years 
only The king, in his turn, was about to curse Vasistha, but his 
queen Madavanti entreated him to forbear, and appeased his wrath. 
The king washed his feet with the curse-water; his legs turned black, 
and thenceforward he was famous as Kalmasapada (' having speckled 

Every third night thenceforth the king took the shape of a 
raksasa and strolling about the forest, used to kill human beings. 
One night he ate a Brahmani's husband, and the Brahmani cursed 
him, saying, 'You will die at the time of union with your wife'. 
After twelve vears, the king was dulv freed from the curse of Vasistha. 
He desired an heir, but recollecting the Brahmani's curse, requested 
Vasistha to act as his proxy. Queen Madayanti conceived, and a 
son was born to her after the lapse of seven years. According to the 
legend, the boy was named Asmaka because his mother smote her 
womb with a stone (asman) before he was born, in order to hasten 
delivery. Asmakas son was Mulaka, 1 and his great-grandson _ is 
said to have been Dilipa, the forefather of Rama. Thus a connection 
is established between the Iksvakus and the Asmakas. 2 

The Matsyapurana (Chap. 272) gives us a list of twenty-five 
Asmaka kings, contemporaries of the &sunagas who reigned m 
Magadha before the Nandas. 

One of the Jatakas relates the following story. In Fotali, the 
capital of Assaka, there reigned a king Assaka who had a queen of 
unique beautv. When she died, the king was overwhelmed with 
grief. The Bodhisattva, then dwelling at the foot of the Himalayas, 
got to know of the king's sorrow, and appeared before him. He 
showed the king his queen, reincarnated as a tiny dungworm. The 
king made himself known to his queen who told him in human 
voice that she no longer loved him,— the worm was now dearer to 
her. Thus the king was consoled. 8 

In another Jataka, 4 we read that Assaka was the king of Potah 
in the Assaka country. At this time Kalinga was reigning in the 
city of Dantapura in the KaHfiga kingdom. Kaknga had four 
daughters of surpassing beauty, whom he ordered to sit in a covered 
carriage to be driven to every village, town and city with an armed 
escort. Kalinga declared that if any king were desirous of taking 
them into his harem, he would join battle with him. _ Passing 
through various countries, the princesses reached Potali in the 
Assaka country. The gates were opened by order of Nandisena, 

1 For the connection between the Asmakas and Miilakas, see Mulaka chapter. 

~ BrhannaradTvu Puriina, Chap. 9. 

3 Jaiaka (Fausboll), Vol, II, pp. 155 f°U- * Ibid., Ill, pp. 3 »». 

THE aSmakas j 83 

the minister of the king of Assaka; and the four princesses were 
brought before the king who, acting on Nandisena s advice, made 
them his queen-consorts and sent a message to King Kalinga informing 
him of this. Keeping his threat, Kalihga set out for Assaka with a 
large army, and a great battle was fought. Through Nandisena s 
diplomacy, Assaka defeated Kalinga who fled to his own city. 
Assaka demanded from Kalihga a portion of the dowry of his 
daughters. King Kalihga sent a befitting dowry to Assaka and 
thenceforth the two kings lived amicably. According to this story, 
the countries of the Assakas and the Kalihgas bordered on each 
other. Evidently it is the southern Asmaka country, on the 
Godavari, that is here referred to. 

The Vitninavattku Commentary tells us that a king named 
Assaka, whose capital was Potananagara, reigned m the country ot 
Assaka. In fulfilment of a promise to grant a boon to his younger 
wife he reluctantly sent Sujata, his son by his first wife, to the 
forest, so that his younger wife's son should succeed him on the 

-,..., , - .... ..-, ■-.....- - ■ ■■ 


was instructed 


. tnat ms youu^t-i wnc = =uu ^v.uu.--- ; - — - 
Whilst in the forest, Sujata met the Elder Mahakaccayana, 
■ucted in the Dhamma by him, and afterwards became a 

Vimanavatthu Commentary, pp. 259S. 


The Mulakas were a small tribe, very closely related with the 
Asmakas of the South * (= Asvakas of the Mahabharata, Assakas of 
Pali literature). They were perhaps situated to the south of Avanti, 
and according to BhattasvamT, the commentator of Kautilya's 
Arthasastra, their country was identical with Maharastra. The 
position of the Asmakas and Mulakas may be determined by two 
references in the Suttanipdta. From verse 977 we gather that the 
Assakas and Mulakas 2 occupied the region on the banks of the 
Godavari ; while in verse 1011 the capital of the Mulakas is described 
as being located at Patitthana (Sans. Pratisthana), i.e. Paithan 
{= Baithan of Ptolemy) on the north bank of the Godavari in the 
Aurungabad district of the Nizam's dominions. 

Some scholars are of opinion that the Mulakas occupied the 
same tract of country as that of the Asmakas, and that the two 
tribes were identical. 3 This is, however, doubtful. In the Vayu- 
Purana, both Asmakas and Mulakas are no doubt stated to be 
scions of the Iksvaku family (Chap. 88, 177-8); and if we are to 
believe the Pauranic tradition as contained in the Garudapurana 
(Chap. 142, 34), Mulaka, the originator of the Mulaka tribe, was 
the son of King Asmaka, a descendant of Bhagiratha. The Asmakas 
and the Mulakas were thus intimately related, but that the two 
tribes were different and lived in separate regions is revealed not 
only by the Brahmanical sources of the Epics and Puranas, but by 
Buddhist sources as well. 

In early Pali literature, Assaka is distinguished on the one 
hand from Mulaka in the north and on the other from Kalinga in 
the east. 4 According to the Paramatthajoiika (II, Pt. II, p. 581), . 
the Godavari formed the border line between the territories of two 
Andhra kings (that is to say, between Assaka and AJaka). That 
the two countries were distinguished from each other is also upheld 
by the Pauranic tradition as contained in the Visnudharmottara 

1 As distinguished from the Asmakas of N.W. India, identical with the 
Assakenoi of the Greeks. 

2 It should be noted, however, that Mulaka occurs only in the Burmese reading 
of the S.N. The Singhalese has 'Alaka', which seems to be identical with Miilaka 
(I^aw, Geography of Early Buddhism, p. 21). 

3 Dey, Geographical Dictionary, pp. 13 and 133. 

* Bhandarkar, Carmichuel Lectures, 1918, pp. 53-4. 


(Pt. I, Chap. 9). D. R. Bhandarkar, however, suggests that in 
later times Mulaka came to be included in Assaka. In the 
Sonadanda Jataka, 1 the Assaka country is associated with Avanti ; 
this contiguity, according to Bhandarkar, can only be explained if 
it is assumed that Mulaka was included in Assaka, and that the latter 
country was thus contiguous with Avanti. 2 

In giving the genealogy of the kings of Ayodhya who belonged 
to the Iksvaku or 'solar' race, some of the Puranas 3 mention the 
names of six kings, namely, Asmaka, Mulaka, Sataratha, Idavida 
(with variations), Vrddhasarman and Visvasaha, who came after 
King Saudasa Kalmasapada. The list differs from that given in the 
other Puranas, but Pargiter considers it more authentic (Anc. Ind. 
Hist. Tradition, pp. 94 and 147). King Mulaka is referred to in the 
Puranas enumerated above as reigning contemporaneously with one 
King Rama. Mulaka was afraid of Rama and lived protected by a 
guard of women (nari-kavaca). A similar statement occurs in the 
Mahabharata.* In the historical period, Asmaka and Mulaka were 
no longer connected with Ayodhya. 6 

As late as the second quarter of the second century A.D., the 
Mulakas are distinguished from the Asmakas. The Nasik Inscription 
of Gautami, the Satavahana Queen, states that her son conquered 
the Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas, and that her dominions extended 
not only over Asika, Asaka (= Asmaka) and Miilaka,_but also over 
Surattha, Kukkura, Aparanta, Anupa, Vidarbha and Akara-Avanti. 

1 Jataka {FausbdU), V, p. 317. 

2 Carmtchael Lectures, 1918, pp. 53-4- 

a Vayu P., Chap. 88, 178-9; Brahmanda P., Pt. Ill, Chap. 63, 178-9; Ltnga P., 
Pt. I, Chap. 66, 29; Kurma P., Pt. I, Chap. 21, 14; Bhagavata P., Pt. IX, Chap. 9, 

* XII, Chap. 49, 1770-8 and 1792-3; for the historicity of these tales, see 
Pargiter, op. cit., p. 152, f.n. 3. 

6 The country of the Mulakas seems to have been mentioned as Maulika in 
Varahamihira's Brhatsamhita, XIV, 4. 


In the earliest time of which we have any record, the Tamilagam 
or Tamil realm, as Dr. Barnett thinks, extended over the greater 
part of the modern Madras Presidency, its boundaries being on the 
north a line running approximately from Pulicat on the coast to 
Venkatagiri (Tirupati), on the east the Bay of Bengal, on the south 
Cape Comorin, and on the west the Arabian Sea as far north as the 
'White Rock' near Badagara, to the south of Mahi. Malabar was 
included in it. 1 It consisted of three kingdoms, those of the Pandyas, 
Colas and Cheras or Keralas. The Cola kingdom stretched along the 
eastern coast, from the river Penner to the VeJlar, and on the west 
reaching to about the borders of Coorg. According to tradition, the 
Cola country comprised the land between two streams having the 
same name, Vellaru, in the north and the south, the sea on the east 
and Kottaikkarai in the west. The area included the modern 
districts of Triehinopoly and Tanjore and part of the Pudukkottah 
State. 2 Its capital was Uraiyur (old Triehinopoly). Kaviri-pattinam 
or Pugar on the northern bank of the river Kaveri was its great 
port while Kanchl (modern Conjeeveram) was one of its chief towns. 
Uraiyur corresponds to Sanskrit Uragapura. 

Negapatam, about 10 miles south of Karaikkal, also on the 
seaboard, was perhaps known to Ptolemy as an important town; 
at any rate it became a centre of trade and of many religions 
including Buddhism long before it attracted the attention of 
European merchants and missionaries. Tanjore, Triehinopoly and 
Kumbakonam are the present notable cities of the former Cola 
country. Gangaikonda-Cdlapuram, at the meeting point of the 
modern districts of ' Triehinopoly, S. Arcot and Tanjore, rose _ to 
prominence as the Cola capital in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. 

The Cola country was thus drained by the river Kaveri and 
comprised the districts of Triehinopoly and Tanjore. 3 The river 
Kaveri is often alluded to and associated with the name of the Colas 
in South Indian inscriptions. Thus we learn from a South Indian 
inscription * that Hara asked Gunabhara: 'How could I, standing Is 

1 Cambridge Hisiorv of India, Vol. I, p. 595. 

a K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Colas, Chap. 11, p. 22. 

3 Ray Chaudhsm, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 271. 

* Hultzsch, South India.". Inacyiptirms, Vol. I, p. 34. 

a temple on earth, view the great power of the Colas or the river 
Kaveri ? ' From another inscription we learn that the Calukya 
king Pulakesin II crossed the river Kaveri with his victorious army 
to enter the Cola country when ' the Kaveri had her current obstructed 
by the causeway formed by his elephants '. The glory of the Kaveri 
forms an inexhaustible theme of early Tamil poetry. According 
to the Manimekkalai, 1 this noble stream was released from his water- 
pot by the sage Agastya in response to the prayer of the king Kanta 
and for the exaltation of the 'children of the sun'. She was the 
special banner of the just race of the Colas, and she never failed them 
in the most protracted drought. The yearly freshes in the Kaveri 
formed the occasion of a carnival in which the whole nation from the 
king down to the meanest peasant took part. 2 The origin of the 
name Cola is uncertain. The Parimelalagar is inclined to make it 
the name, like Pandya and Cera, of a, ruling family or clan of 
antiquity. The story of the eponymous brothers Ceran, Solan and 
Pandivan is indeed suggestive. The name Co]a, however, indicated 
from the earliest times the people as well as the country subject to the 
Coja dynasty of rulers. Col. Gerini wrongly connects the word Cola 
with the Sanskrit Kala (black) and with Kola which denoted in the 
early days the black or dark coloured pre-Aryan population of 
Southern India in general. The effort to derive it similarly from 
Tamil 'Colam' (millet) or Sanskrit 'Cora' (thief) seems unsound. 
Other names generally used for the Colas are Kijli, Valavan and 
Sembiyan. Kill! probably comes from ' Kil ' (dig) meaning a ' digger ' ; 
this word forms an integral part of early Cola names like Nedungilli 
and so on which is not found in later Cola names. Valavan probably 
comes from ' Valam ' (fertility) and means owner of a fertile country, 
like the land of the Kaveri. Sembiyan is generally taken to mean a 
descendant of Sibi, a legendary hero whose self-sacrifice in saving a 
dove from the pursuit of a falcon figures among the early Cola legends 
and forms the theme of the Sibi Jdtaka among the Jataka stories of 
Buddhism. 3 

The Cola kings were alleged to belong to the tribe of Tiraiyar 
or 'Men of the Sea'. Their connection with the sea is probably 
indicated by the following reference of Aelian to the realm of Soras 
(Chola?) and its chief city: 'There is a city which a man of royal 
extraction called Soras governed at the time when Eukratides 
governed the Bactrians, and the name of that city is Perimuda. It 
is inhabited by a race of fish-eaters who go off with nets and catch 
oysters.'* During the age of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 

1 I, 9-12; 23-4. a Manimekkalai, p. 23. 3 Ibid., p. 25. 

* Eai' Chaiidhnri, Political History of Amienl India, 4th Ed., 271, f.n. 2. 


as Dr. Ray Chaudhuri shows in Appendix B (p. 387) of his work, 
the kingdom of Argaru (= Uragapura) was included in Damirica. 
The geographer Ptolemy refers to the kingdom of Sora (Chola) ruled 
by Arkatos and the kingdom of Malanga (probably Kahchi, according 
to Dr. Ray Chaudhuri), ruled by Basaronagas. In the Mdrkandeya, 1 
Vayu 2 arid Matsya s Puranas, the Colas are mentioned along with 
the Pandyas and Keralas. ' In the Ramayana? Sugriva is described 
as sending his monkey followers to the countries of the Colas, 
Pandyas and KeraJas in quest of Sita. Katyayana in his Varttikas 
or aphorisms to Panini's Sutras or grammatical rules mentions the 
Colas and the Pandyas. 5 Patanjali in his Mahabhasya ° mentions 
Kanchipura. Asoka in his Rock Edicts II and XIII mentions the 
Colas, Pandyas, Ketalaputras and Satiyaputras as forming 
'prachamta' or outlying provinces outside his empire. They were 
on friendly terms with him. The Colas, like the Pandyas, are spoken 
of in the plural in all the versions of the Asokan edicts, and this has 
been held to imply that 'in Asoka's time there were more than one 
Coda and one Pandya King'. 7 Two or three poets of the Sahgatn 
make references to an invasion of the south by the Moriyar (Mauryas). 
Mamulanar also speaks of the wealth of the Nandas liidden under the 
Ganges at Pataltputra. He says that the Vadugar formed the 
vanguard of the invading Mauryas (A ham 281). He further says 
that the Kosar undertook the subjugation of the south and as the 
Mohftr chieftain continued defiant, the Mauryas came down with 
their great forces on a warlike expedition to the south (Aham 251). 
The above account thus confirms the story of Bindusara's conquest of 
Southern India as recorded by the Tibetan historian Taranath. It 
is evident thus that Maurya empire in Southern India probably 
received some setback before the date when Rock Edicts II and XIII 
were promulgated. 8 Allusions to the land of the Colas and 
Kaveripattinam are found in the Mahavamsa. The Milinda-Panho" 
mentions Kola-Pattana, which according to Rhys Davids, must be 
some place on the Coromandel Coast. Here is a reference probably 
to Kaveripattinam. In the Jataka story 10 Akitti to escape from 
his admirers is said to have left the neighbourhood of Benares 
for the Tamil country where he spent some time m a garden 
near Kaveripattiaiia. The Mahavamsa shows that towards the 
middle of the second century B.C-, a Damila of noble descent, Elara 

1 Chap. 57, V. 45. s Chap. 45, V, 124. 

3 Chap. rr2, V. 46. * IV. Chap. 41, Bombay lid. 

6 K. G. Bhandarkar, Early History of the Dehkan. p. 6. 

6 IV, 2, Second Ahnika. 1 Cf. Bhandarkar, Aioka, p. 4*- 

8 Ibid., p. 28. B Trenckner Ed., p. 359. 

«• Jataka (Faiisboll), IV, 237 foil. 

COLAS 189 

by name, came to Ceylon from the Cola country (Colarattha) over- 
powered Asela, 1 the then king of the island, and himself reigned as 
king for forty-four years with even justice towards friends and foes 
on occasions of disputes at law. He sentenced his only son to death 
for unwittingly causing the death of a young calf. In Tamil litera- 
ture also we find the story of the prince and the calf which is placed 
in the reign of Manu. 

The early history of the Cola country is obscure. About the 
beginning of the Christian era the Cola king was Pcru-nar-Killi. 
His son was Ilanjet-Senni whose son was Karikal, a vigorous rider, 
under whom the Colas became the leading power of the south. He 
defeated an allied army of the Cheras and Pandyas and made an 
expedition to the north. At home he suppressed the turbulent 
Ayar, Aravalar, Kurumbar and Oliyar. He made his capital at 
Kaveri-pattinam on the Kaveri and he secured it from flood by 
raising the banks of the river as well as by making canals. From the 
Colas the hegemony of the south passed to the Cheras and later still 
to ' the Pandyas who were ousted by the Pallavas who later on 
became the suzerain power of Southern India. 

1 Mahavaipsa (G«gcr), p. 166. 



The Pandya kingdom comprised the greater part of the modern 
Madura and 'Tinnevelly Districts and in the first century of the 
Christian era Southern Travancore also. It had its capital originally 
at Kolkai on the Tanrraparni river in 'rinnevclly and later at Madura 
(Daksina Mathura). 1 According to Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhun the 
Pandya country corresponded to the Madura, Ramnad and Tmnevelly 
distr'icts and perhaps the southern portion of the Travancore State. 
It was watered by the rivers Tamraparni and Krtamala or Vaigai. 
Katyayana in his Varttika derives Pandya from Pandu. In the 
Mahdbhdrata and in several Jatakas the Pandus are spoken of as the 
ruling race of Indraprastha. In the statement of Katyayana regard- 
ing the connection of the Pandyas with the Pandus who are men- 
tioned in the Epic tale, we find an interesting clue for the name of 
Madura, the Pandya capital. Madura or Daksina Mathura is in a 
sense the same as Mathura or Mtittra, the capital of the Surasena 
kingdom. Now, according to Epic tradition, the Pandus of 
Indraprastha were closely connected with the ruling family of the 
Surasena country by ties of friendship and marriage. The geographer 
Ptolemv (circa 150 A.D.} speaks of the country of the Pandoouoi 
in the Punjab. The association of the Pandyas of the south with 
the Surasenas of Mathura and the Pandus of Northern India is 
probably alluded to in the confused statement of Megasthenes 
regarding Herakles and Pandaia. Megasthenes, who visited the 
court of Candragupta Maurya towards the end of the fourth century 
B.C., has left on record some rumours concerning these southern 
States. He thus notes a legend that Heracles placed the south 
under the rule of his daughter ' Pandaia ' . The Sanskrit Epics mention 
them vaguely as foreign lands outside their purview. Thus in the 
Mahdbhdrata 2 Sahadeva, the youngest of the Pandu princes, is 
represented in his career of conquest to have gone to Daksinapatka 
after having conquered the king of the Pandyas. In the same way 
the country of the Pandyas is mentioned in the Rdmdyana where 
Sugriva is "said to have sent his monkey-soldiers in quest of SIta, 
Rama's consort. 3 In the Puranas also as in the case of the 

1 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 595. 
3 Sabkaparvan, Chap. 31, V. 17. 
3 Rdmdyana, IV, Chap. 41. 


Markandeya, 1 Vayu z and Matsya* we find mention of the Pandyas. 
In Rock Edicts II and XIII, Asoka mentions the Pandyas whose 
territory lay outside his empire. The relations between the Damilas 
and the natives of Ceylon form one of the main strands in the narra- 
tive of the Mahavamsa. Though on several occasions the Chronicle 
speaks only of Damilas in general, still the distinction between the 
Pandya and Cola divisions of the Tamil country is well known and 
clearly observed in it. A careful study of the Buddhist tests shows 
that the Damilas were a fighting people always engaged in constant 
strifes with the Ceylonesc. They are described as andriya or 
uncultured. 'Might is right' was their policy with the result that 
they were defeated and mercilessly massacred in almost all their 
battles with the Sinhalese as we find in the Mahavamsa Commentary 
(p. 482)^ It is only in connection with a particular Damila general 
named Ariyaeakkavatti that we are told that he returned with all 
booties to the Pandu country, the land of the Pandyas in the south. 
The literary tradition of Ceylon keeps us entirely in the dark as to 
whether those Damilas were sent with expeditions by the king of 
Pandu or they were a race of marauders who undertook those 
expeditions on their own initiative. The account of Vijaya distinctly 
brings out that there existed a matrimonial alliance between the ruler 
of Lanka and that of Pandya. It is also mentioned that there was a 
very early settlement in Ceylon of skilled craftsmen and families of 
the eighteen guilds, all from Pandya. 4 There existed similarly a close 
cultural relationship and constant intercourse between South India 
and Ceylon ; the notable centres of Buddhist learning mentioned in 
Pali works being Kaveripattana, Madhura, and Kancipura. 5 

Strabo (XV, 4, 73) makes mention of an embassy sent to 
Augustus Caesar about the year 22 B.C. by a king ' Pandion ', possibly 
a Pandya of the Tamil country. In the Periplus of the Erythraean 
Sea, the Pandian kingdom is mentioned which was included in 
Damirica. 7 From the Hathigmnpha Inscription of the Cheta king 
Kharavela of Kalinga, it appears that in his eleventh year 'he had 
had Pithuda ploughed with a plough drawn by an ass', and seems to 
have pushed his conquest further south and made his power felt 
even by the king of the Pandya country. 8 

We have very little information regarding the early history of 
the Pandya country. Meagre references in the pages of classical 

1 Chap. 57, V. 45- 2 Cha P' 45. V. 124- 

a Chap, 112, V. 46. * Mahavamsa, Chap. 7. 

6 B. C. Law, Geographical Essays, Vol. I, pp. 79-80. 
« Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 597. 

7 Rav Cliaudhuri, Political- History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., App. E, p. 541. 
s IHd., 4th Ed., p. 349- 



writers like Pliny supplemented by the data collected from ancient 
Tamil literature are the only materials for a study of their history. 
From these we can gather that Nedun-jeliyan II was the first 
conspicuous Pandya ruler who made the Pandyas the leading power 
of the south. But the supremacy of the south ultimately -~ 
to the Pallavas. 


The Keralaputra (Ketalaputra or Chera) is 'the country south of 
Kupaka (or Satya), extending down to Kanneti in Central Travancore 
(Karunagapalli Taluk). South of it lay the political division of 
Mushika'. It was watered by the river Periyar on the banks of 
which stood its capital Vafiji (near Cochin) and at its mouth the 
seaport of Muziris (Kranganur). 1 According to L. D. Barnett * 
the Chera or Kerala territory comprised Travancore, Cochin and 
the Malabar District; the Korigu-desa (corresponding to the 
Coirnbatore District and the southern part of Salem District), winch 
at one time was separate from it and later annexed to it. Its capital 
was originallv Vanji (now Tiru-Karur, on the Periyar river, near 
Cochin), but later Tim-Vanjikkalani (near the mouth of the Penyar). 
It had important trading centres on the western coast at Tondi on the 
Agalappulai, about five miles north of Quilandi, Muchin (near the 
mouth of the Periyar), Palaiyur (near Chowghat), and Vaikkaral 
(close to Kottayam). ^ , __ , 

The three Tamil kingdoms, viz. Cola, Chera and Pandya, are 
vaguely mentioned in the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas. Thus m the 
Puranas as Sir R. G. Bhandarkar points out,' the term Dakslnapatha 
or Daksina is used to denote the whole peninsula to the south oi the 
Harmada' The Mirkandeya Purana (Chap. 57. 45) reaos Kevalas. 
The Viyupurana (XLV, 1 24) and the Matsyapurana (CXIII, 46) as 
well as the Bhlsmaparvan of the Mahabharata (IX, 352 and 305) 
give the correct reading Kerala; According to the Mahabhamla,' 
the Keralas seem to have been a forest tribe. In historical times they 
are associated with the Colas and Pandyas. This is upheld by 
Harivamsa as well (XXXII, 1836). The Mirkandeya, Vttyu and 
Matsvii Puranas mention the Colas, Pandyas and Keralas among 
the peoples of the Daksmapatha. In the Markandeya Purana,' 
the reading of the second line, as R. G. Bhandarkar says, is w-rong. 
He gives his reading as follows: 'Pandyas ca Keralaseaiva Colah 
Kulyas tathaiva ca'. In the Ramayana,' we read that Sugnva, the 

1 Political History of Ancient India., 4th Ed., p. 273. 

2 Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 595. 
a Early History oftlie Dekkan, p. I. 

* Sabhaparvan, XXX, pp. 1174-5. n rlT ~, „ R „ M VA 

« Chap. 57, 45 (ed. Bibliotheca India). " IV, Chap. 41, Bom. Ed. 


monkey-king is described as sending Us followers to the different 
quarters in search of Ramans wife, Sita, and Rayana, her ravlsher. 
The monkey-soldiers arc directed to go to the countries of the 
Andhras (Telugu people), the Pandyas, the Colas and the Keralas, 
in the south, and are told that they will there see the gate of the 
city of the Pandyas adorned with gold and jewels. In the Maha- 
bkdmtai gahadeya in his career of conquest is represented to 
haye subdued the Pandyas, Dravidas, Udras, Keralas and Andhras. 
Patafijali in his Mahabhasya shows an intimate acquaintance with the 
south In Mahabhasya ' Kerala (or Malabar) is mentioned. The 
same work mentions Mahismati, Vaidarbha and Kaiicipura (Con- 
ieeveram). 1 In the second and thirteenth rock edicts of Asoka, the 
outlying provinces of the Colas, Pandyas, Satiyaputras, Ketalaputras 
(Che'ra or Kerala), and the Andhras and Pulindas are mentioned. 

Damirica is shown in the age of the Perifilus as including 
Cerobothra (i.e. Keralaputra). During the age of Ptolemy the 
kingdom of Karoura was ruled by Kerobothros (Keralaputra). 

After the Colas, the Clieras for a time became the leading power 
of the south. After them the Pandyas became the supreme power 
for some time in Southern India and then the Pallavas. 

i Sabhaparvan, Chap. 31. 

1 TV, I, 4th Ahriika. 

3 Early History of the Dehhttn, p. 7. 


The Magadhas occupied a prominent position in very ancient 
times Though the Rgveda does not mention them as such yet 
Vedic literature generally contains innumerable references to them 
as a people In the Atkarvaveda Samhita, 1 the Magadha is said 
to be connected with the Vratya as his Mitra, his Mantra, his laughter 
and his thunder in the four quarters. In the Ldfyayana Srauta 
Sutra ' (which belongs to a school of the Samaveda), Vratya-dliana 
or the property of the Vratya is directed to be given either to a 
bad Brahmin or to a Brahmin of Magadha; but the Pmcammsa 
Brahmana (XVII, I, 16), which also belongs to the Samaveda, 
does not say anything on the point. 

In the Taittirtya Brahmana (III, 4, L l) « . read $>* . th « 
people of Magadha were famous for their loud voice The tact 
that Magadha in later times often stands for minstrel is easily 
accounted for by the assumption that the country- was the home ot 
minstrelsy and that wandering bards from Magadha were apt to 
visit the more western provinces of ancient India. The minstrel 
character of the Magadhas also appears from the Manna 
Dharmaiastra which mentions them as bards and traders lie 
Bmhmapurana tells us that the first great Sammt or Emperor 
Prthu gave Magadha to Magadha, being highly pleased with his 
solve in praise of himself.* . , 

The later texts recognise the Magadhas as a special caste 
inventing their origin from intermarriage among the old established 
castes In the Gautama DharmaSastra (IV, 17) and Manmantk,ta' 
the Magadha is not a man of Magadha, but a member of a mixed caste 
produced by the union of a Vaisya man and a Ksatnya woman 

In the SMhhydyana Iranyaka it is said that Madhyama, son of 
Pratibodhi was a resident of Magadha (Magadhavasin) .« In the 
IpaZnta Srauta Sutra (XXII 6 18), the Magadhas are ^ men- 
tioned along with other peoples both of E and of W. India viz 
the Kalingas, the Gandharas, the Paraskaras and the Sauviras. 

1 Harvard Oriental Series, p. 774. 

2 VIII, 6, 28. Cf. Katyayana Srauta Sutra, XXII, 4. 22. 

3 Manusamhita, X, 47. 5 x _ 

4 Chap, IV, si. 67; Vayupumna, Chap. 62, si. 147- *• 47 ' 
« Keith, Sdnhhydya\id Aranyaka, p. 46. 


Thev are also mentioned in the iatafatha Brahmam,* where it is 
said that neither Kosala nor Videha was fully brahmamsed at an 
early date, — much less Magadha. 

Coming down to the Epic age, we find the Magadhas frequently 
mentioned, and much information about the country and the people 
may be culled from the Great Epics. For instance, the Ramayam 
tells us that Vasistha asked Sumantra to invite many pious kings, 
including the Magadhan king, who was well versed in all the sastras. 
King Dasaratha tried to appease his irate queen Kaikeyi by offering 
to present her with 'articles manufactured m Magadha ." the 
Kiskindhya Kanda « informs us that Sugriva sent monkeys m quest 
of Slta to ah parts of India, and even beyond its boundaries. Here 
Magadha is mentioned as one of the countries m the east. 

Pargiter has sought to show on the evidence of the Puranas that 
the dynasties of Magadha and the adjoining countries were descended 
from Kuru's son Sudhanvan. Vasu, the fourth in succession from 
Sudhanvan, conquered Cedi from the Yadavas, thereby obtaining 
the title Caidvoparicara, and also annexed the adjoining countries 
as far as Magadha. When he offered to divide his five territories 
among his five sons, the eldest son Brhadratha took Magadha with 
Girivraja as its capital and founded the famous Barhadratha dynasty 
there.* We read in the Ramdyana that 'Vasu, the fourth son ot 
Brahma, built Girivraja, the ancient capital of Magadha'.* 

The Puranas assert that the successors of Jarasandha ruled over 
Magadha for a thousand years. Two of these kings, Kusagra and 
Vrsabha, are commemorated in early names of Rajagrha (Girivraja, 
Kusagra-pura, Vrsabha-pura). Ripunjaya was the last king of this 
dvnasty He was killed by his minister Sunika ( ? Punka, Munika, 
Sunaka) who installed his son Pradyota on the throne of Magadha. 
Five kings of the Pradyota dynasty ruled over Magadha for 138 years, 
after which the SisunSgas came into power.' Twelve kings ot this 
dynasty reigned in Magadha for 162 years, Mahanandin being the 
last king. Mahapadma Nanda, son of Mahanandin by his Sudra 
wife destroyed the Ksatriya race and established Sudra rule m 
Magadha. Thereafter eight sons of Nanda ruled over Magadha for 

1 z . r IO 2 Aili Kanda, 13th Sarga. 

* Ayoihya Kanda, si. 37, roth Sarga. « 48th Sarga, si. 23. 

* Pargiter. Awu:r,i t/hunii Hittonad 'lynaitian, pp. 118, 282. 

* Adi Kanda, canto 32, verse 7. . ' . 

7 The famous King Bimbisara is said to have been the filth ot the bi~ • 4 
line, which was established before 600 B.C. ; but the Mahdvamsa makes Sisunaga the 
founder of a dynasty which succeeded that of Bimbisara. 


a hundred years, 1 and then the Nandas were destroyed in their 
turn by Kautilva who installed Candragupta Maurya on the throne. 
Ten kings of the Maurya dynasty are said to have ruled over Magadha 
for 117 vears. Brhadratha was the last king of this dynasty, which 
was followed by the Sungas, founded by Pusyamltm Ten kings 
of this dynasty ruled for 112 years, Devabhtiti being the last monarch 
of the Sunga family ; he was killed by Vasudeva Kanva who founded 
the Kanva dynasty, and four kings of this family ruled 111 Magadha 
for 4S ' years. Then Sipraka, a royal servant, murdered King 
Susarman, usurped the throne and founded the Aiidhra dynasty, 
thirty kings of which reigned in Magadha for 456 years.' The 
mrStm gives us a long list of the ancestors of Jarasandha as 

::Pltranu gives uo a ,v„. & ~~- — -- - - 
weil as of the monarchs who succeeded him " 

Kahdasa, who seems to have derived his materials from the 
Puranas and Epics, speaks of the intermarriage of the early tongs of 
Kosaia with the ruling family of Magadlnx He says that Dihpa 
the father of Raghu, married Si, daks.ria, daughter of the king of 
Magadlia « In his beautiful account of the Svayamvara of ludumati, 
Kahdasa also refers to the prominent position occupied by the 
Magadhan king.' We have a descnptlon of Magadha m the DaSa- 
SlraLitJot Dandin who belongs to about the same period as 
Kahdasa Dandin there speaks of a monarch, Kajahamsa, who was a 
powerful king of Magadha, and who defeated Manusara, king of 
Eva • Bhasa's sfafmavasavadaM also speaks of Magadha and 
Its king, whose daughter Padmayati marned the king of \atsa, 

VARy VhtsamuntapasMiha mentions two other kings of Magadha, 
vi7 Anuruddha, aid his son Munda. The latter is a so referred to m 
the Zguttara NiMya. Here we read that King Munda was over- 
whelmed with grief at the death of his queen, Bhadda, and asked 
his treasurer to embalm her body in an oil pot so that he might 
continue to look at her. The treasurer besought Munda to go to the 
sage Narada who was dweffing at the Kukkutarama near Patakgama 

1 Twenty-two years according to the more reliable account of the Samtuf- 

*™i%^^vX" , 5S''£^ S. mt . t a»mM (Vol. I, pp. 7-3) 
'■-..' i'™i of Magadhan dynasties Udaya Bhadda re.gned for 
SSSenTearTSe was sacceeded by Snsunaga (i.e. Sijonaga) who rnled for eighteen 
ST Then carne the Nandas who reigned in Magadha or the same p" 
tSnda dynasty was overthrown by Candagntta who ruled the kingdom for tycnty- 
four years, and he was succeeded by Bindusara who reigned for twenty-eajht years, 

" d r?S^. b ^£p. ro, Chap. z 3 ; M^yafu,-., Ch.p^o. Chap. ^. 

'. LtSSi/i.'puryapithika, pp. «■ ' ^ **• **«" 


(later Pataliputra), and listen to his doctrine. Mtmda went to 
Narada who instructed him and brought him solace. The king then 
asked his treasurer to burn the dead body of his queen, and there- 
after attended to his duties as usual. 1 

Before passing on to a more detailed account of the Magadhan 
dynasties, it may be as well to summarise what is known of the 
location of Magadha. According to Parasara and Varahamihira, 
Magadha was situated in the eastern division of the nine portions 
into which the sub-continent of India was divided. 2 Magadha was 
bounded by the Ganges on the north, by the district of Benares on 
the west, by Hiranyaparvata or Monghyr on the east, and by Kirana 
Supavana or Sing'hbhum on the south. Cunningham infers that in 
ancient times Magadha must have extended to the Karmanasa river 
on the west and to the sources of the Darnoodar river on the south. 3 
Rhvs Davids gives as probable boundaries: the Ganges to the north, 
the' Son to the west, the country of Ahga to the east, and a dense 
forest reaching the plateau of Chota Nagpur to the south. 4 

Magadha was a narrow strip of country of some considerable 
length from north to south, and of an area greater than that of 
Kosala. Just as Kosala corresponded very nearly to the present 
province of Oudh, but was somewhat larger, so Magadha corre- 
sponded at the time of the Buddha to the modern district of Patna, 
but with the addition of the northern half of the modern district of 
Gaya. The inhabitants of this region used to call it Maga, a name 
doubtless derived from Magadha. 5 According to the Siamese and 
other Buddhist books, as Spence Hardy shows, Magadha or 
Madhyamantlala was supposed to be situated in the centre of 
Jambudvipa.' It is generally regarded as answering to Central 
Bihar. It is called Makata by the Burmese and Siamese, Mo-ki-to 
by the Chinese and Makala Kokf by the Japanese. 6 All these are 
no doubt phonetic variations of the name Magadha. Rapson says 7 
that Magadha or Southern Bihar comprises the districts of Gaya 
and Patna; while Dr. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri places Magadha to the 
west of Ahga, being separated from the latter kingdom by the river 
Campa.. 8 

One of the earliest and most famous kings of Magadha was 
Jarasandha of Epic fame. The Mahabharata speaks of Jarasandha, 
son of King Brhadratha, as a very great and powerful king of Magadha 
who reigned in the city of Girivraja or Rajagrha, 'well guarded by 

1 Angitttara Nikaya, ITT, pp. 57fl\ 

3 Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 6. 3 Ibid., pp. 518C 

* Cambridge History of India, A ucioni India, p. 182. 5 Ibid., pp. 182-3. 

9 Spence Hardy, Manual of Buddhism, p. 140. 7 Ancient India, p. 166. 

8 Political History, p. 53. 



mountains on all sides'. 1 One of the ancient names of Rajagrha 
was Barhadrathapura, after Jarasandha. According to the Visnu- 
fturana, Jarasandha gave his two daughters in marriage to Kamsa, 
king of Mathura, and when Kamsa was killed by Krsna, Jarasandha 
marched with his army to Mathura to destroy Krsna with all the 
Yadavas, only to be repulsed with heavy loss. 2 From other sources, 
however, we learn that Jarasandha besieged Mathura with his large 
army of 23 aksauhinis, defeated many of the kings of N. India, 
and'kept them imprisoned in Girivraja, it is said in a temple of 
Siva, in order to sacrifice them to the god. 3 According to the 
£antiparvan of the Mahabharata, Jarasandha, hearing of the valour 
of Karna, fought with him, but was defeated, and being pleased 
with his_great skill in arms, made him king of the city of Malinl* 
In the Adi-parvan, Jarasandha is represented as a reincarnation of 
Vipracitti, a chief of the demons. 5 Jarasandha exercised such great 
power that without defeating him it was not possible for Yudhisthira 
to assume the status of a paramount sovereign and perform the 
Rajasuya sacrifice. The Bhagavaiapurana narrates that Bhima, 
Arjuna, and Krsna went to Girivraja where Bhima killed Jarasandha, 
and Krsna made Sahadcva (Jarasandha 's son) king of Magadha, and 
released all the kings imprisoned by Jarasandha. 8 The Sabhaparvan 
relates that Bhima proceeded again to Girivraja where he forced 
Sahadcva to pay taxes to him; and atthe Rajasuya sacrifice, Sahadeva 
was present as one of the vassals of the Pandavas. 7 In the 
Kuruksetra battle, Dhrstaketu, son of Jarasandha, helped the 
Pandavas with a fourfold army. 3 After the battle of Kuruksetra, 
when the horse let loose at the Asvamedha sacrifice of Yudhisthira 
was proceeding towards Hastinapura, MeghasandH, son of Sahadeva 
of Magadha, offered battle to Arjuna, but was defeated by him." 

After Ripunjaya, the last king of Jarasandha's line, came the 
Pradvotas, of whom there is not much to relate; and then followed 
the Slsunagas. The Sisunaga dynasty was established before 600 B.C. 
(perhaps in 642 B.C.) by a chieftain of Benares named Sisunaga 
who fixed his capital at Girivraja or Rajagrha. Bimbisara, said to 

1 Sabhaparvan, Chap. 21. _ _ , , ,„. 

* Visnupurana, Amsa 5. Chap. 2Z. The Khlla-Hanvaip^ {Vipuparvm, 
Chap. 35,'ils gaff! and Chap. 36, S. 40} informs us that Jarasandha fang ; of Magadha 
killed the horses yoked to the chariot of Balarama, but was ultimately defeated 
bv the Vrsnis. 

« Mahabharata, II, 14-5; Brahmapurana , Chap. 195, si. 3- 

* Santiparvan, Chap " « AAparvM. Chap. 67, v. 4. 
8 Bhagavaiapurana, Skandha 10, Chap. 72, sis. 16, 4&- 

7 SatMpanmt, Chap. 30, v. r8. .,_. » t ±. r*u«.*. a-, 

» Vtywpmm, Clip. 57, "■ 8- ' AS,am,aa f ,™n, Chap. 82. 


have been the fifth of his line, came to the throne about 528 B.C. 
The Mahclvctmsa, however, makes Sisunaga the founder of a dynasty 
which succeeded that of Bimbisara; and the Puranas are self -con- 
tradictory The first Pradvota, namely, Canda Pradyota Mahascna, 
was a contemporary of Bimbisara according to the early Pah texts; 
but the Puranas, as we have seen, make Sisunaga an ancestor of 
Bimbisara. 1 The fact that VaranasI was included wlthm Sisunaga s 
dominions * supports the view that Sisunaga came after Bimbisara 
and Ajatasatru, who were the first to establish Magadhan authority 
in Kasi The Maltlamkaravatthu « tells us that Rajagrha lost its 
rank as a royal city from the time of Sisunaga. This also goes to 
show that Sisunaga came after the flourishing days of Rajagrha, i.e. 
the period of Bimbisara and Ajatasatru. 

The Mahavamm (Geiger Ed., p. 15) records some facts regarding 
King Bimbisara of Magadha, telling us that he was 15 years old 
when he was anointed king by his father, and that he reigned for 
52 years. The father of Bimbisara was probably Bhattrya < who 
was defeated by Brahmadatta, king of Anga. As we shall see, this 
defeat was later avenged by Bimbisara. 5 Dr. Bhandarkar, however, 
makes Bimbisara the founder of a dynasty, and says that he was a 
general who carved out a kingdom for himself at the expense of the 

. There are several more or less fanciful explanations of 
Bimbisara 's name. The Suttanipata Commentary relates that he 
was called Magadha because he was the lord of the Magadhas. He 
was the possessor of a large army, hence he was called Seniya; and 
he was called Bimbisara because his colour was like that of excellent 
gold.' In Rockhill's Life of the Buddha (p. 16), it is said that 
Bimbisara was so called because he was the son of Bimbi, queen of 
King Mahapadma of Rajagrha. Jaina works represent Bimbisara 
as a Jain by religion, and sometimes in Jaina tradition his name is 
coupled with that of Asoka's grandson Samprati, as a notable patron 
of the creed of Mahavlra." All the Buddhist books, however, repre- 
sent him as a devoted patron of the Buddha, and a great benefactor 
of the Buddhist Order. 

1 Vayapicrana, 99, 314; Ray Chaudnnri, Political History 0/ Ancient India, 
4th Ed., p. 98, and Ms article on Seniya Bimbisara, Ind. Hist. Quar., Vol. I, No. I, 
Starch, 1925, p. 87. 

2 Dynasties of the Kali Age, p. 21. 

■ S.B.E., XI, p. 16. * J.A.S.B., 1914, 321- 

5 Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., pp. 98-9. 

6 Carmichael Lectures. 1918, p. 72. 7 Ibid., p. 448. 
8 Smith, Ancient and Hindu India, p. 45. 


Bimbisara is said to have built the new Rajagrha, the outer 
town to the north of the ring of hills encircling the ancrent fort. \V e 
shall return later to the history of Rajagrha 

King Bimbisara annexed Anga to his kingdom. Anga was a 
small kingdom to the east, corresponding to the modem district 
of Bhagalpur and probably including Monghyr. The Jataka stones 
contain several references to Ahga, both as an independent kingdom 
and as a vassal of Magadha. It is stated m one Jataka story that 
at one time the king of Benares conquered Anga and Magadha, 
and in another that the Magadhan kingdom once came under the 
suzerainty of Alga.' The Camfeyya Jataka records a fight between 
totwo neShtauring countries oi Anga and Magadha The nver 
CamS flowed between Anga and Magadha, and a Naga king named 
CaZewa used to live in that river. From time to time Anga and 
Sdha were engaged iu battle. Once the Magadhan king was 
defeated and pursued by the army of Ahga but he escaped by 
tanning into the river Campa. Again, with the help of the Ivaga 
SnThf defeated the king of Anga, recovered Ins lost kingdom and 
coirauered Anga as well. He became intimately associated with the 
AngTkiug and used to make offerings to him on the bank of the nver 

"^IKrl^vIde^fluciM, the ^M « . offers 
reasonable eStaS to prove that Anga came under Bimbisaras 
swr while the SonaiLia Suttanta of the Digha mkaya by 
mentioning the bestowal of CampS, the capital of Anga, as a royal 
fief o n the g Brahman Sonadanda, indirectly prove. .the ^ The 

Jaina works '.tell %»&£*** *££ "SS££RZA 

separate province with Lampa as its capital. *> b 
lifetime his son Ajatasatru acted as Viceroy at Campa. 

The annexation of Ahga was the ^%P° m }«lt^£Zby 
Magadha As V A. Smith says, it marked the first step taken DJ 
tteHngdom of Magadha in it/advance to greatness and the position 

i Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 3 2 - 

> SS ^Vdi W Chaadnnri, Ptftal History of, l.iia, 

all pekilences dae to attack by being, vany !*d^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ 
' ie£hS^:sihi-,rball-ch.rita: cf. the Bh^M Si*a and tie W.V«y«v»B 


of supremacy which it attained in the following century, so that 
Bimbisara may be regarded as the real founder of the Magadhan 
imperial power. He strengthened his position by matrimonial 
alliances with the two neighbouring states, viz. Kosala and Vaisali. 
He took one consort from the royal family of Kosala and another 
from the influential Licchavi clan at Vaisali'. 1 A third queen of 
Bimbisara, as mentioned in the Therigathd Commentary (p. 131} 
was Khema, daughter of the king of Madda (Madra) in the Punjab. 
According to the Jaina Nirayavatiya Sutta, the mother of Vehalla 
or Vihalla, one of the sons of Bimbisara, was a daughter of Cetaka, 
the then king of Videha. 2 There is also mention of TJdumbarika- 
devi, a royal lady, whose relation with "Bimbisara is not precisely 
known. The jatakas tell us that Bimbisara married Mahakosala's 
daughter, Kosaladevi, to whom her father gave as a wedding gift a 
village of KasI yielding a revenue of a hundred thousand, for bath 
and perfume money. 3 The Mahavagga says that Bimbisara had 
500 wives.* 

Thus the marriages of Bimbisara paved the way for the expansion 
of Magadha both westward and northward, and enabled Bimbisara 
to add a part of KasI to his dominions and to launch Magadha on 
that career of conquest and aggrandisement which only ended when 
Asoka sheathed his sword after the conquest of Kalinga. 6 

The Vinaya Pitaka (I, p. 170,) tells us that Bimbisara was the 
lord of 80,000 villages, and the Mahavagga also states that Bimbisara 's 
dominions embraced 80,000 townships, the overseers (Gdmikas) of 
which used to meet in a grand assembly. 8 

Bimbisara had many sons, of whom we know the names of 
several, viz. Kunika Ajatasatru, Abhaya, 7 Vimala-Kondafma, 8 
Vehalla (or Vihalla), Silavat, Megha, Halla, and Nandisena." King 
Bimbisara's eldest son, Ajatasatru, murdered his father. Many 
are the myths surrounding this dreadful deed. 10 Devadatta, the 
recalcitrant cousin of the Buddha, is said to have performed a miracle 
and thereby succeeded in persuading Ajatasatru to become his 
follower. It was he, it is said, who induced the prince to torture 
his father to death. During the lifetime of Bimbisara, Ajatasatru 
was made king, but at the instigation of Devadatta, he killed his 

1 Smith, Early History of India, pp. 31-2. See Licchavi chapter. 

2 Jaina Sutras, I, S.E.K., p. xiii. 

3 Nos. 239, 2.S3, 492. See Kosala and KasI chapters. * VIII, I, 15. 
5 Rav Ciiatidliuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th lid., pp. 166-7. 

e Cf. Vinaya Pitaka, Pt. II, p. 1. 1 See Licchavi chapter. 

8 Psalms of the Sisters, p. tzq; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 65. 

9 Jaina Vividha-tirtha-kalpa, p. 22. 

:■■■:.;■ - ._■ '.;■!■. -■. . ;'.;■■. ;'/ ;\ :.;i , ■/■;. [ r. i . .: . 


father by starving him, in spite of the efforts of Queen Kosaladevi 
to provide her husband with sustenance. 

On the day that Bimbisara died, a son was born to Ajatasatru. 
The reports conveying the news of the death of his father and the 
birth of his child were received by his ministers simultaneously. 
They first handed to Ajatasatru the letter conveying the news of the 
birth of his son. Forthwith the king's mind was filled with final 
affection and all the virtues of his father rose up before his mmd s 
eve and he at once ordered Bimbisara's release. But it was too 
late The ministers handed him the other letter, and on learning 
of his father's death, he wept, went to his mother, and asked her 
whether his father had any affection for him. Kosaladevi told 
him a story illustrating his father's love for him. Heanng this, 
Ajatasatru wept hot tears. 1 

The Vinaya (II, 490) gives a short account of an attempt made 
by Ajatasatru to kill his father with a sword, and m the concluding 
portion of the Sammnathula Sutta, there is an allusion to the actual 

murder which he afterwards committed.' The details may 
may not be true, but the fact that B mbisara was put to death by 
Aiatasatru appears to have been a historical truth, the tradit 011 
h so trong Sd persistent with regard to this matter. According 

o the Sylonese Chroniclers, this event took place 8 years before 

he death of Buddha, when Bimbisara had been on the throne or 
« years' According to other accounts, Bimbisara reigned for 
28 or ^8 vears, and Ajatasatru for 25 years. 4 

Alto Bimbisara's death, Queen Kosaladevi d,ed of grief. 

VataStru then began to enjoy the revenues of the Kasi village the 
deW of 1 Lis Toother. But Pasenadi of Kosala determined that no 
parricide should possess a village which had been presented to his 
sister and he accordingly waged war upon his nephew. Pasenarh 
was defeated in three campaigns, but in another batt e he avenged 
h»« defeat and took possession of Kasi. However he treated 
Aurtalatrn generously, living him his daughter Vaj.ra in marriage, 
ama eve bSowing tfc "disputed village on her as a wedding gift. 
Thus Kail once again came under the sway of Ajatasatru, and the 

tvTlctgdoms of Magadha and Kosala were once more closely 

mllt lj£s?tm m afcrtarir?ucceeded not only in permanently 
annering k£ but Smabsorttogtte tod of the UccW At 

' smmnAmmM.vt.t^^^. . ■ m« »•**«. 1. ■>■ *• 

3 miavamsa III, 50-60: Maiu-:a;:na, II, 26-31. 

4 KfSiiw of Ike Dynasties ojthe KA Age.JV- *f* 

,aka,„, KlLmanfiwi*. Taccha-.ttam and BhaidesaU Jal.tas. 



any rate, the Licchavis were obliged to accept Ajatasatru's suzerainty 
and to pay him revenue, but they were in all probability indepen- 
dent in their internal politics. Ajatasatru is said to have made use 
of two deadly weapons, the Mahasilakantaga and the Ra(t)hamusala, 
in Ins war with the Licchavis. The first seems to have been some 
engine of war of the nature of a catapult which hurled big stones. 
The second was a chariot to which a mace was attached and which, 
when in motion, effected a great slaughter of men. It may be 
compared to the modern tank. 1 

Kunika Ajatasatru is represented throughout Jaina literature as 
a king of Anga who reigned in Campa. But the fact is that he was 
only the Uparaja or Viceroy of Afiga which formed part of the 
kingdom of Magadha. While Viceroy of Anga, Kunika-Ajatasatru 
picked a quarrel with the Vrji-Licchavis of Vaisali over the possession 
of a mineral mine on the boundary of the two territories. The Pali 
commentatorial tradition indicates that Ajatasatru was jealous of 
the Vrji-Licchavis on account of their national solidarity and 
numerical strength. Accordingly, after he had ascended the throne 
of Magadha, he became bent upon destroying them and uprooting 
their power. He deputed his minister Varsakara to wait upon the 
Buddha and learn his opinion regarding the future of the Vrjis. On 
coming to know that the Buddha laid much stress on unity as the 
source of their national strength, Ajatasatru employed two of his 
ministers, Sunidha and Vassakara, to build a fort at Patahgama with 
a view to repelling the Vrjis. 2 He also proceeded to weaken them by 
treacherous means, and eventually succeeded in conquering them. 3 

The Mahavamsa 4 assigns a reign of 32 years to Ajatasatru, 
while the Vinaya Commentary, SamantapdsMika, puts his reign 
at 24 years, and the Puranic tradition indicates that he reigned for 
25 years. 6 Ajatasatru suffered the same miserable fate as his father, 
being put to death by his son Udayi Bhadda. 6 According to the 
genealogical lists given in the Puranas, Ajatasatru was succeeded by 
Darsaka. 7 Bhasa's Svapnavasavadatta mentions a Magadhan king 
named Darsaka, but makes no mention of any fact that might lead 
us to believe that Darsaka was the successor of Ajatasatru. 

1 Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., pp. 172-3. 

2 Sumangalavilasim, II, pp. 516-7; Dlgha Nikaya, II, 87. 

3 For a fuller account, see Life ham- chapter. i II, w. 29, 31, 32. 
5 Pargitcr, Parana Text of the Dynasties of the Kali Age, pp. 67-9. 

8 Mahavamsa, Chap. IV, v. I. 

7 Pargiter, Parana Text of the Dynasties of the Kali Age, pp. 67-9. 'Ajatasatru 
was followed by Darsaka whu reigned for 25 or 27 years. After Darsaka, Udayin 
became king and made Kusumapura (Pataliputra) his capital, situated on the south 
bank of the Ganges.' 


Dr. Bhandarkar identifies him with Naga Dasaka who is repre- 
sented by the Ceylonese Chronicles as the last king of Bimbisara's 
line. The Pali Canon and Jaina tradition do not warrant us in 
holding that Darsaka was the immediate successor of Ajatasatru. 
The former asserts that Udayi Bhadda was the son of Ajatasatru 
and probably also his successor, and the latter 1 represents Udayi 
as the immediate successor of Kfinika Ajatasatru. The Ceylonese 
Chronicles s also inform us that Udayi Bhadda succeeded his father 
Ajatasatru on the throne, and reigned for 16 years. That Udaya- 
bhadda or Udayibhadda was the son and successor of Ajatasatru is 
borne out by the Samannaphala Sutta of the Digha Nikaya (I, p. 50), 
by the Samantapasddika (p. 72) and the Sumangalavilasim (Vol. I, 

Before his accession to the throne, Udayi Bhadda seems to have 
acted as his father's Viceroy at Campa. 3 The Jaina work Parisista- 
parvan tells us that it was Udayin who founded on the bank of the 
Ganges a new capital which came to be known as Pataliputra, though 
the first beginning of a garrison town appears to have been made 
during the Buddha's lifetime. The Vayufumna bears testimony 
to this fact and says that Udaya built the city of Kusumapura in 
the fourth year of his reign. 1 

The successors of Udayi Bhadda, according to the Puranas, were 
Nandivardhana and Mahanandin. The Purana account does not 
tally with the Samantapasddika 6 which tells us that Udayi Bhadda 
was succeeded by his son Anuruddha who reigned for 18 years, and 
was succeeded by his son Munda who reigned for the same period. 
Then came Naga Dasaka who reigned for 24 years. Naga Dasaka was 
banished by the citizens who anointed the minister, Sisunaga, as king. 
This was probably because the people had become disgusted with the 
succession of parricides from Ajatasatru to Naga Dasaka. Sisunaga 
reigned for 18 years, and was followed by his son Kalasoka, who 
reigned for 28 years. Kalasoka had ten sons who ruled for 22 years." 

Then .came in succession the nine Nandas who took possession 
of the throne of Magadha and are said to have reigned for 22 years. 
According to the Puranas, the founder and first king of the Nanda 
dynasty was Mahapadma Nanda, son of Mahanandin by a Sudra 
woman. He usurped the throne of Magadha in or about 413 B.C. 7 

* Jacobi, Parisistaparvan, p. 42. 

2 Dipavomsa, V, qy; Mahdvamsa, IV, 1. 3 Jacobi, Parisistaparvan, p. 42. 

* Ray Chaiidhiiri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 176. Cf. 
Vincent Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., pp. 38-9. and Samantapasadika, 

PP ' 7 s~Ibid., pp. 72-3- B Cf ' Dipavarnsa, V. 

' Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 41- 


We learn from Kautilya's Arthaiastra, Kamandaka's Nitisara, the 
Puranas and the Mudraraksasa that the Nanda dynasty was over- 
thrown by Candragupta Matirya with the help of his wily and astute 
minister, Kautilya. 

Candragupta was the son of the chief queen ot the Monya 
king of Pipphalivana, 1 and founder of the Imperial Maurya dynasty 
of Magadha. He was advised by his minister Kautilya to seek the 
help of the Lkchavis who were then living under a sangha form of 
government. The Licchavis enjoyed a great deal of independence 
under Candragupta. It will be remembered that they had been 
forced by Ajatasatru to acknowledge the suzerainty of Magadha. 
Candragupta appears to have liberated the Punjab from foreign 
rule. He inherited from his Nanda predecessor a huge army which 
he increased until it numbered 30,000 cavalry, 9,000 elephants, 
600,000 infantry, and a multitude of chariots. With this irresistible 
force, he overran and subdued all the northern States, probably as 
far south as the Narmada or even farther. 3 Plutarch 3 tells us that 
he brought under his sway the whole of India. Justin also says 
that Candragupta was in possession of India. Vincent Smith states 
that 'the dominions of Candragupta, the first historical paramount 
sovereign or emperor in India, extended from the Bay of Bengal 
to the Arabian Sea'. 1 Justin 5 informs us that while India was 
under Candragupta, Seleukos (Seleucus), a general of Alexander 
the Great, made an expedition into India (about 305 B.C.). Appianus 
says that he crossed the Indus and waged war on Candragupta, king 
of the Indians, until he made friends and entered into relations of 
marriage with him. 6 The hosts of Candragupta, however, proved 
too strong for the invader to overcome, and Seleukos was perforce 
obliged to retire and to conclude a humiliating peace. This treaty 
may be dated in or about 303 B.C. It was ratified by a 'matrimonial 
alliance', which is taken to mean that Seleukos gave a daughter to 
Candragupta. Seleukos was not only compelled to abandon all 
thought of conquest in India, but also to surrender a large part of 
Ariana to the west of the Indus. In exchange for the comparatively 
trifling equivalent of 500 elephants, Candragupta received the 
Satrapies of the Paropanisadai, Aria and Arachosia, the capitals of 
which were known as Kabul, Herat and Kandahar respectively. 
The Satrapy of Gedrosia with its capital Makran seems also to have 
been ceded. The inscriptions of Aioka prove the inclusion of the 

1 See chapter on Bulis, Moriyas, etc. 

'■ Smith, Early Histerv of India, 4th Ed-, p. 124. 

I Alex., LXII. i vSmith, op. tit., p. 124. 

> Watson's Ed., p. 143. B Indian Antiquary, Vol. VI, p. ri4- 


Kabul Valley within tie Maurya empire. After the war, the Syrian 
and Indian emperors lived on friendly terms. Seleukos sent an 
envoy, Megasthenes, to Candragupta's court. Megasthenes stayed 
at Pataliputra for a considerable time, and wrote a history of India. 
Unfortunately this work, which would have been invaluable for the 
ancient history of India, has been lost. The fragments which survive 
in quotations by later authors such as Strabo and Arnan have been 
collected by Schwanbeck, and translated by McCrindle. 

Great soldier and conqueror as Candragupta admittedly was, 
he was no less great as an administrator. We have a beautifully 
complete and detailed account of the system of administration m 
vogne in his time from the Arlkiidstra of Kautilya who is generally 
supposed to have been his chief minister, and the few fragments of 
Megasthenes which have survived amply corroborate this picture. 
The edicts of Asoka again confirm in many respects the particulars 
of the organisation of the empire given by Kautilya and Megasthenes 
The supreme government, it appears from Kautilya's work, consisted 
of two main parts: (i) The raja, on the one hand and (z) the 
Mahclmatras, Amatvas or Sacivas (ministers) on the other. At the 
head of the State was the sovereign [raja) who had mihtary, judicial, 
and legislative as well as executive functions, but was never the 
spiritual head. In addition to the Mantnns, there was the 
Mantriiarisad or Assembly of Imperial Councillors. In several 
passages of' the Arthaiastra, the Manlnns are sharply distinguished 
from the Mantriparisai. The members making up the latter body 
evidently occupied an inferior position, their salary being 
imms, while that of a Mantrin was 48,000 panas.' 

' Kautilya's Arthaiastra has been so largely utilised by scholars 
that any attempt to present anew an account of Candragupta s 
government would be futile and a mere repetition of what has 
already been said on the subject. The Early History of India' 
and the Political History of Ancient India ' give us a systematic 
and critical account of the government of the great Maurya Emperor, 
while Jayaswal's work on Hindu Polity illuminates many obscure 
points of' ancient Indian statecraft and administration. 

Historians differ in presenting an account of the last days ot 
Candragupta. According to Jain tradition, Candragupta abdicated 
the throne and became a Jain ascetic. He is said to have repaired 
to Mvsore, where he died.* According to Vincent p Smith, 
• Chandragupta either abdicated or died m the year 298 B.C. . 

< Rav Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 2 3°- . 

• Bv Vincent Smith. ' By Hemctandra Ray Chaudtan. 

* Rice, Mysore and Coorgfrom lufcupt'.ons, pp. 3-4- 
s V. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 126. 


Candragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara, surnarned 
Amitraghata (slayer of foes),— an epithet which is quoted, perhaps 
with reference to this king, in the grammatical work of Patanjali. 1 
It is uncertain whether Bindusara earned, or merely assumed, his 
sobriquet. The Puranas attribute to Bindusara a reign of 25 years, 
and the Ceylonese Chroniclers a reign of 28 years. The Samanta- 
pasadika? on the other hand, says that he ruled for 18 years only. 
According to Smith's chronology, Bindusara's reign terminated? 
about 273 B.C. 3 The Divyavadana 1 tells us that Taxila revolted 
during his reign, and that he sent bis son Asoka to quell the rebellion. 
When the prince approached Taxila with his troops, all dis- 
turbance was allayed. The people came out to meet him and said : 
' We are not opposed to the prince, nor even to King Bindusara, 
but the wicked ministers insult us.' Asoka alludes to the high- 
handedness of the Maurya officials in his Kalinga Edict. 5 Nothing 
of political importance is known to have happened during Bindusara-'s 
reign, but it is clear that he maintained intact the dominions inherited 
from Candragupta. The friendly relations between India and the 
Hellenistic powers, which had been initiated by his father 
Candragupta and the Greek empire-builder Seleukos, continued 
unbroken throughout his reign. 8 

Bindusara was succeeded by his son Asoka, who is said to have 
won undivided sovereignty over all Jambudvipa after slaying all his 
brothers except the youngest, Tissa. Asoka reigned without corona- 
tion for four years, 7 and then consecrated himself as king in the city of 
PataUputra. 8 He assumed the title of Devanampiya 9 (' dear to the 
gods'), and loved to speak of himself as Devanampiyadasi. The 
name Asoka is found only in literature, and in two inscriptions, 
viz. the Maski Edict of Asoka himself, and the Junagadh Inscription 
of the Mahaksatrapa Asoka was at first called 
Candasoka on account of his evil deeds, but he later became known 
as bhammasoka on account of his meritorious deeds. 10 The Sarnath 
Inscription of Kumaradevi mentions the name Dharmasoka. 

During the first thirteen years of his reign, Asoka appears to 
have followed the traditional Maurya policy of expansion within 
India and of friendly co-operation with foreign powers. In the 
thirteenth year of his reign, he conquered the kingdom of the Three 
Kalihgas or Kalinga, and annexed it to his empire. The annexation 
of Kalinga, like that of Afiga by Bimbisara, was a great landmark 

1 Mahdbhdsya, III, 2, 88. a Vol. I, p. 7?>. s Atoka, p. 73- 

* Ibid., pp. 37r-2. 5 Ibid., 3rd Ed., pp. 194-5- 

6 Smith, Early History of India. 4th Ed., pp. 156 foil. 

7 Satnantapasadika, I, p. 41. Cottar i vacant unmhisitkiva nijjam kdretva. 

8 Smith, Atoka, p. 232. u Cf. Rock Edicts. m Mahavatnsa, Chap. V. 


in the history of Magadha and of India. But the unavoidably 
heavy loss of life and property involved in the conquest of Kalihga 
made a deep impression on Asoka and awakened in him feelings of 
profound compunction and sorrow. About this time he appears to 
have come under the influence of Buddhist teachers. This opened 
a new era — an era of peace and kindness to all animate beings, of 
social progress, of religious propaganda, and it marked the close of 
a career of conquest and aggression. 'The martial spirit of 
Magadha hegan to die out for want of exercise.' Thus came to an 
end the era of political ' digvijaya ' begun by his mighty grandfather, 
giving place to the sacred ' era of Dhammavijaya ' or conquest by the 
spiritual force of non-violence. Asoka's change of religion after 
the Kalinga war resulted in a change of the monarch's internal as 
well as foreign policy. He maintained friendly relations with the 
S. Indian and Hellenistic powers. He renounced once for all the 
old policy of violence, of conquering peoples, suppressing revolt by 
force and annexing territory. In Edict IV he says with a spirit of 
exultation: 'the reverberation of the war drums [Bherighoso) has 
become the reverberation of the Law (Dhammaghoso) ' . He called 
upon his future successors— sons and grandsons— to shun new 
conquests. This change of policy darkened the political horizon of 
the Magadhan empire in its heyday. Magadha which, before 
Bimbisara was merelv a tiny State in South Bihar, had, during the 
interval from the time of Bimbisara to the Kalinga war of Asoka, 
expanded to a gigantic empire from the foot of the Hindu Kush to 
the borders of the Tamil country. After the Kalinga war, the 
political destinv of Magadha was reversed. The empire gradually 
became smaller and smaller till it sank to its pre-Bimbisanan area 
and position. ■ 

At one time King Bindusara used to give alms to 60,000 Brahmins 
and heretics. Asoka also followed his father for some time in 
making donations to non-Buddhist ascetics and institutions. But 
becoming displeased with them he stopped further charities to 
them and gave charities to the Buddhist bhikkhus. 1 Asoka sent 
missionaries all over India and also to Ceylon to preach the Buddhist 
dhamma Almost all of these missionaries were natives of Magadha. 3 

Asoka continued the Council Government of his predecessors. 
The inscriptions bear ample testimony to the fact that he also 
retained the system of provincial administration m vogue under his 
forefathers. The emperor.and the princes who often acted as Viceroys 
in charge of the provinces, were helped by a number of officials who, 
according to the Edicts, may be classed as (1) The Mahamatras, 


(2) The Rdjukas, (3) The Pradesikas, (4) The Yutas (the Yuktas 
of the Arthasastra, p. 59), (5) Pulisd (Purushas), (6) Pativedakd 
(Prativedakas) , and (7) Vachabhumikd (Vrajabhumikas) > 

Asoka was succeeded by Dasaratha who was followed by a 
succession of weak Maurya kings who had only a vestige of the 
great power that Asoka wielded. Brhadratha, the last of the 
Maurya dynasty, was treacherously murdered by his commander- 
in-chief, Pusyamitra S\ihga, who established himself upon the throne 
of his master and set up the Sunga dynasty. The Divydvaddna 
(p. 434) tells us that the emperor continued to reside in Pataliputra. 
Pusyamitra ruled over Magadlia for thirty-six years from about 185 to 
149 B.C. During his reign the Manirifarisad (Assembly of Councillors) 
continued to be an important element of the governmental machinery. 
The viceregal princes were assisted by fiarisads. 2 The historical 
events worth mentioning during Pusyamitra 's reign were the Vidarbha 
war and the Greek invasion. The former resulted in the splitting 
up of the kingdom of Vidarbha into two States, between which the 
river Varada. formed the boundary. The latter is referred to in 
Patafijali's Makabhasya and Kalidasa's Malavikagnimilra. Unfor- 
tunately, the name of the Greek invader is not given in either of 
these works. Historians differ as to the identity of the invader, 
but they agree that he was a Bactrian Greek. Dr. Ray Chaudhuri s 
adduces strong evidence to identify Demetrius with the Yavana 
invader referred to by Patahjali and KaUdasa. Pusyamitra died in 
or about 149 B.C., as the Puranas affirm. He was followed by nine 
kings who ruled for 76 years. The 6uhga dynasty probably lasted 
for 112 years. The last of the Sunga inonarchs was Devabhuti 
who was a young and dissolute prince. The Puranas state that he 
was overthrown by his Minister, Vasudeva Kanva. Rapson* says 
that the Sungas were a military power, but in later times they became 
puppets in the hands of their Brahmin councillors. They probably 
ruled originally as feudatories of the Mauryas at Vidisa, the modern 
Besnagar, on the Vetravati (Betwa) near Bhilsa, and about 120 miles 
east of Ujjain. The Suhga dynasty probably came to an end 
about 73 B.C., and was succeeded by the Kanva dynasty which 
lasted till 27 B.C., when the Andhras came into power. For some 
time, Pataliputra may have acknowledged their supremacy, but later 
on, it must have re-asserted its independence. After the period of 
the Andhras, the history of Pataliputra passes into oblivion. 

1 For a full account of this rei^n, see Viucent Smith's Asoka. 

* Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., pp. 324-5. 

3 Ibid., pp. 3o8ff. 

4 Cambridge History of India, Chap. XXI, pp. 522-3. 
i 4 b 


At the beginning of the fourth century A.D. the Magadhan 
monarchy again rose into prominence under the Guptas. I-tsing 
mentions a king Maharaja Srlgupta of Magadha who may be placed 
in about the second century A.D. (175 A.D.). But the first indepen- 
dent sovereign (Mahara.jadhira.ja) was Candragupta, son of Maharaja 
Ghatotkacha Gupta, and grandson of Maharaja Gupta. Candragupta 
ascended the throne in 320 A.D., the initial date of the Gupta era. 
Like Bimbisara he strengthened his position by a matrimonial alliance 
with the Licehavis of Vaisali, who appear to have continued to 
occupy an influential position in JS1. India, though for a time their 
glory was eclipsed by the rising State of Magadha. The union of 
Candragupta I with the Licehavis is commemorated by a series of 
coins, and by the Allahabad inscription. Through his Licchavi 
connection, Candragupta was elevated from the rank of a local chief, 
and he proceeded to lay the foundations of the second Magadhan 

His son and successor Samudragupta often felt pride in 
describing himself as the son of the daughter of the Licehavis. 
Before his death, Candragupta selected Samudragupta, his son by 
the Licchavi princess, as his successor. It is clear from the Allahabad 
praiasti and from the epithet ' tatpddaparigrhUa' applied to 
Samudragupta in other inscriptions that the prince was selected by 
Candragupta I from among his sons, as the best fitted to succeed him. 
It was the aim of Samudragupta to bring about the political unifica- 
tion of India and to make himself an Ekarat (sole sovereign) over 
this united empire; but his only permanent annexation was that of 
portions of Aryavarta, the Gangetic plain. 1 Samudragupta made 
the rulers of the Atavika rajyas ('forest kingdoms') his servants, 
led an expedition to the south, and made his power felt by the 
powerful rulers of the Eastern Deccan. Here he defeated the 
kings, but following the pre-Mauryan Hindu policy he did not annex 
their territory. According to Dr. Fleet, 2 the Atavika rajyas were 
closely connected with Dabhala, i.e. the Jabbalpur region. 3 The 
Eran inscription of Samudragupta bears testimony to the conquest 
of this region and to the fact that the Vakatakas of the Western 
Deccan were deprived of their possessions in Central India by the 
Emperor. 4 The kings (mostly of' Daksinapatha) who came into 
conflict with the great Gupta conqueror were Mahendra of Kosala, 
Vyaghraraja of Mahakantara, Mantaraja of Kaurala, Svamidatta of 

1 Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 447. 

2 Corpus Inscription-am Indicarum, Vol. Ill, p. 114. 

3 EpigrapUa Indica, VIII, pp. 2S4-7. 

* Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., pp. 455-6. 


Pistapura and of Kottura of Mahendragiri, Damana of Erandapalla, 
Visnugopa of Kafici, Nilaraja of Avamukta, Hastlyarman of Vengl 
Ugrasena of Palakka, Kuvera of Devarastra, and Dhananjaya of 
Kusthakpura > The tribal States of the Punjab, W. India and 
Malwa are also said to have obeyed Ms compelling mandate or decree 
(pracanda-sasana) "by giving all kinds of taxes, obeying his .orders 
and coming to perform obeisance'. The most important among the 
eastern kingdoms which submitted to the mighty Gupta emperor 
were Samatata (part of E. Bengal bordering on the sea), Davaka 
(not yet satisfactorily identified) and Kamarupa (m Assam).' The 
Damodarpur plates inform us that Pundravardhana or N. Bengal 
formed an integral part of the Gnpta empire and was governed by a 
line of Uparika Maharajas as vassals of the Gupta emperor. The 
dominion under the direct government of Samudragupta in the 
middle of the fourth century comprised all the most populous 
and fertile provinces of N. India. It extended from the 
Brahmaputra on the east to the Jumna and Chambal on the west, 
and from the foot of the Himalayas on the north to the Narmada on 
the south. Beyond these wide limits, the frontier kingdoms ot 
Assam and the Gangetic delta, as well as those on the southern 
slopes of the Himalayas, and the free tribes of Rajputana and Malwa, 
were attached to the empire by bonds of subordinate alliance ; while 
almost all the kingdoms of the south had been overrun by the 
emperor's armies and compelled to acknowledge his irresistible 


The exact year of Samudragupta s death _ is not 


me exacr yeai ui jauiuui^^" „ ~^-~- .- — .. 
ascertainable. Dr. Ray Chaudhuri states* that he died some time 
after ^75 AD He was succeeded by his son Candragupta 11 
(born of Queen Dattadeyi), who assumed the title of Vikramaditva 
('Sun of Power'). He was also called Simhacandra and Simna 
Vikrama. Certain Vakataka inscriptions and the Sanchi inscription 
of 412 A.D. call him Devagupta or Devaraja. 6 

The greatest military achievement of Candragupta Vikratn- 
aditya was his advance to the Arabian Sea through Malwa 
and Gujarat, and his subjugation of the peninsula of Surastra or 
Kathiawad governed for centuries by rulers known as baka 
Satraps' ' As a result of the western expedition, Malwa ana 
Surastra were added to the Gupta dominions. Another event ot 
political importance was the Emperor's matrimonial aUiance Mttt 

i Rav Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 452. 

* Ibid., p. 456. 3 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 3°3- 

« Political History of Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. 464. 

5 Indian Antiquary, 1913, p. 160. 

" Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 307. 


the Vakataka king of the Deccan, by the marriage of the Emperor's 
daughter Prabhavati with King Rudrasena II, son of Prthivisena I. 
The original' capital of Magadha under Candragupta II was 
Pataliputra, but after his western conquests, Ujjain was made a 
second capital. Smith says: 'Ajodhya enjoyed a more favourable 
situation and appears to have been at times the headquarters of the 
government of both Samudragupta and his son, the latter of whom 
probably had a mint for copper coins there. There is reason to 
believe that during the fifth century Ajodhya rather than Pataliputra, 
was the premier city of the Gupta empire.' * 

Detailed information regarding the administrative history of the 
Magadhan empire under Candragupta II is not available, but the 
narrative of Fa-Hien and the inscriptions that have hitherto been 
discovered throw much light on the character of his administration, 
and on the social and religious condition of India at the time. 

The Raja was the head of the State. He was apparently 
nominated by his predecessor, both primogeniture and capacity 
being taken into consideration. A body of high ministers whose 
office was very often hereditary used to assist him. There was 
no distinction between civil and military officials. 

After Candragupta II, the Gupta power m Magadha was 
temporarily eclipsed by the Pusyamitras. 1 Then followed the Huna 
invasion, in which the Emperor Skandagupta, according to Dr. Ray 
Chaudhuri,' was presumably victorious, and, according to Smith 
was unable to continue the successful resistance which he had offered 
in the earlier days of bis rule, and was forced at last to succumb to 
the repeated attacks of the foreigners. 

But the Magadhan empire did not wholly perish on the death ot 
Skandagupta. It was ruled by Puragupta, Naraslmhagupta, 
Kumaragupta II, and Buddhagupta. 

Then the imperial line passed on to a dynasty of eleven Gupta 
princes known as the 'later Gupta monarchs of Magadha . The 
Damodarpur plates, Sarnath inscriptions, the Eran epigraph ot 
Buddhagupta, and the Betul plates of the Parivrajaka Maharaja 
Samksobha, dated in the year 518 A.D., testify to the fact that the 
Gupta empire continued to exert sovereign rights m the latter hall 
of the fifth as well as the sixth and seventh centuries A.D 

In the first half of the seventh century, Harsa, the great 
Kanouj monarch, overshadowed the Gupta power, which was 
revived by Adityasena, who assumed the titles of Paramabhattakara 

' Smith, Early History 0/ India, 4th Ed., p. 310. 

2 Rav Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India. 4 th Ed p. 478. 

» Ibid p 488 4 Early History of India, Athm., p. 32$. 


and Maharajadhiraja. Adityasena and his successors as proved 
bv Aphsad and Deo-Baranark inscriptions, were the only N. 
Indian sovereigns who laid claim to the imperial dignity during 
the last quarter of the seventh century A.D., and appear actually 
to have dominated Magadha and Madhyadesa. The last king of the 
line of Adityasena was Jivitagupta II, who reigned early in the 
eighth century A.D. ' " 

About this time, the throne of Magadha was occupied by a 
Gauda king named Gopala, as the Pala inscriptions seem to indicate.* 
Theii the great Magadhan empire decayed politically, being included 
in the Gauda empire of the Palas and Senas, but it continued to 
remain the centre and headquarters of Buddhist learning up to the 
time of the Muhammadan conquests at the close of the twelfth 
century, when the monasteries with their well-stocked libraries were 
reduced to ashes. 3 . . 

Magadha and its ancient capital Rajagrha were intimately 
associated with the Buddha. Magadha was the scene of the real 
birth of Buddhism. 3 The Buddha's chief disciples, Sariputta and 
Moggallana, were natives of Magadha, and it was at Rajagrha that 
they were converted by the Buddha. 4 Their conversion, and the 
consequent desertion of the school of Sanjaya the Wanderer, must 
have created a sensation among the citizens of Rajagrha. 15 Another 
notable conversion was that of Mahakasyapa, who formerly belonged 
to another religious sect. Persons of many well-known families 
either became monks or lay supporters of the new doctrine. For 
want of accommodation in Venuvana, the bhikkhus passed the 
night in grottoes and caverns of the hills surrounding the city. 
This induced Anathapindika, the great banker of Rajagrha, to 
undertake, with the permission of the Buddha, to build some 60 
viharas for them. 

Rajagrha was the first place visited by the Bodhisattva atter 
his adoption of ascetic life at Anupiya in the Malla territory. It 
was here that he begged his food from door to door for the first 
time. 8 It was somewhere in Magadha, between Rajagrha_ and 
Uruvela, that he met and placed himself under the training of Arada 
Kalama and Udra Ramaputra in the method of Yoga. 7 He 

1 Early History of India, 4th KcL, p. 413. 

t Smith, Early ijislorv of India, 4th Ed., p. 420. 

3 Malalasekera , Piili Proper Xnmes Dirty., II, s.v. 

; Kathavallku, I, 97; Vinaya Pittika, I, yjff. 

i Vinaya, Cidlavagga, p. 14. 

'> Sut-ttinifii'itti,^. 72!"!.: I'a-sholl, Jutaka, I, pp. 6gff. 

i Majjkima Nikaya, I, pp. iC^ff.; MaMvastu, II, 118; III, 322; Lahtavistara, 

v. 54; Fausboll, Jataha, I, pp. 66ff. 


eventually selected TJruvela in Magadha as the most fitting place for 
meditation and the attainment of enlightenment. Shortly after 
his attainment of Buddhahood, it was suggested to him that his 
primary task was the reformation of the religions of Magadha, which 
had all' become corrupt. 1 

A notable triumph of the Buddha m Magadha was the conversion 
of the three great leaders of the Jatilas with their thousand followers^ 
With all these new converts, he proceeded towards Rajagrha and 
halted on the way at Latthi or Yasti-vana, a beautiful palm-grove 
belonging to King Bimbisara. He was received with ovations by 
all the citizens of Rajagrha and the inhabitants of Ahga-Magadha, 
headed by King Bimbisara. 3 

The conversion of the king (who was the Buddha s junior in 
age by five vears) to the new faith proved a great incentive to the 
people at large to welcome it. King Bimbisara made a i gift of his 
bamboo grove, Veluvana-Kalandaka-Nlvapa to the Buddha and his 
Spies' With the formation of the order of Bkikkhums at 
VaSlt many women of Rajagrha, headed by Ksema the gifted 
queen of Bimbisara, joined the Order." Bhadda Kundalakesi, who 
was converted bv the Buddha, went to Magadha after she became a 
theri and lived in Gijjhakuta for some time.' Then Cak was born 
SagTcuia at NafakagSaa. in an infiuentml Brahmin tandy She 
Uoacala and Sisupacala were the sisters of Sanputta. They obtained 
ordina ion from the Buddha when they learnt that Sanputta had 
beeTo Sained' Other Magadhan ladies who entered the order 
were Mett Sand Subha, the daughters of an eminent Brahmin of 
SjagAa' Dhammadinna," Citta,- and Subha, a goldsmiths 

daUg Tne r r*^»« records the influence of -the Buddha^teachings. 

The 7 SM records tne inuueiicc u, »..»—__- — .— = 

For instance, once the Buddha gave instruction to \.sakha, the son 
of a raja iu Magadha, and as a result Vlsakha renounced the work! 
The DivvavadLa ■■ gives an account of a Journey from Sravast. 
to Rajagrha which was undertaken by the Buddha and his monks. 
In the course of this journey, the Buddha six times saved some 
merchants of Srayasti from being robbed^ Velattha Kaccana was 
Mother trader who, on his way to Rajagrha from Andhakavjndha, 

>,p. 5- 

i Majjhima Niktyn, I , p. «8 ; Yimya ..... 

■ Walters, 0» Y««« Ov.ang, II, p. 146; . »««!», Ill, 44i«- 

» Vinaya,*. p. 39: JamMU. /■>«*>. I, p. 8-i 

« TieHgitha Comm., pp. 127-8- , „J^ ' 2 s and I4 B. 

u Psalms of the Brethren, p. 152. PP- 55' 94 5- 


met the Buddha and his pupils, and offered each bhikkhu a pot of 
molasses. 1 . i*^£ 

The Digha Nikaya 2 narrates that at Rajagrha the Buddha 
summoned all the bhikkhus and prescribed several sets of seven 
conditions of welfare for the Sangha. Once the Buddha, while 
sojourning amongst the Magadhas, went to a Brahmin village named 
Khanumata, and took up his abode in the Ambalatthika grove 
(man< f o-grove). An influential Brahmin named Kiitadanta, the 
owner of the village, together with many Brahmin householders, 
was converted to the Buddhist faith after conversing with the 
Buddha. 3 '| 

The Pali Texts abound with references to the Buddha s 
experience and converts in Magadha, and especially at Rajagrha. 4 
One of the best-known stories is that of the Buddha and Bharadvaja, 
the Brahmin ploughman of Ekanala, a Magadhan village. 5 The 
Digha Nikaya and Sumangalavilasini give a beautiful account of the 
visit paid to the Buddha by the parricide monarch of Magadha, 
Ajatasatru. Territorial expansion could not satisfy Ajatasatru or 
bring peace to his perturbed mind. After murdering his father he 
could not sleep soundly, but dreamed dreadful dreams; and he 
devised various means of spending the night without sleep. On 
one occasion, the whole of Rajagrha was illumined and decorated 
and was full of festivities and enjoyments. Ajatasatru with his 
ministers went on the terrace and saw the festivities going on in the 
city, so that he might not fall asleep. The moon-lit night by its 
soft beauty elevated his soul, and the thought arose within him of 
approaching a ' Samana or Brahmana ' who could bring solace to his 
tortured mind. 8 Hearing of the great virtues of the Buddha from 
Jivaka, the greatest physician of the day, Ajatasatru came to the 
mango-grove where the Buddha was staying, 7 and asked whether he 
could show him the effect of leading the life of a Samana. The 
Buddha did so by delivering to the repentant king a discourse on 
various virtues of the ascetic life as narrated in the Samannaphala 
Suttanta of the Digha Nikaya.* 

1 Vinaya Pitaka, I, pp. 224-5. 

2 II, pp. 76-81. 

> Digha Nikaya, I, pp. I27ff. 

* See, e.g. Dl?ha Nikaya, I, pp. i5off.; II, pp. 202-3, 218; III, pp. 3&8-< 5»- 
39, iQ4ff. : Samvutta Nikaya, I, pp. 8ff., 27-8, 52, 55, 65-7, 106-7, 160-4, t<>6-7, 
185s. : Anguttar'a Nikaya, II, pp. 29-30, 181-2; II, pp. 366ff., 374^-. 3&3$- '. Majjhima, 
Nikaya, III, 237ft.; JJiaka, I, 65-6, 86, 156. 

5 Samyittta Nik.iiya, I, pp. 172-3; SuUanipata, I, 3. 

a SumangaSaz-ila-iini, I, 141-2. 

7 Ibid., 1, 151-2. 

8 Ibid., I, pp. 158I!. See also Digha Nikaya, I, 47S. 


Once Vassakfira (later the chief minister of Ajatasatru) began the 
work of repairing the fort at Rajagrha. He needed timber for the 
purpose, and went to the reserved forest, but was informed that the 
wood was taken by a bhikkhu named Dhaniya. Vassakfira com- 
plained to King Bimbisara, and the incident was brought to the 
notice of the Buddha who ordered the bhikkhus not to take anything 
which was not offered or presented to them. 1 

The Buddha passed away in the eighth year of Ajatasatru 's 
reign. 2 It was from Rajagrha that he started on his last journey to 
Kusinara, stopping on the way at Ambalatthika, Nalanda. and 
Pataligama, and delivering fruitful discourses to all who came in 
contact with him. 3 After the Buddha's parinirvana, his relics 
were distributed among various clans. Ajatasatru obtained a share 
and enshrined it with great respect and honour, instituting a worship 
of the relics on a grand scale. 4 He built Dhatu Caityas all round 
Rajagrha, his capital, 6 and at his own cost repaired i8 mahaviharas 
at Rajagrha which had been deserted by the bhikkhus after the 
Buddha's death. 6 The bhikkhus headed by Mahakassapa performed 
the funeral ceremony of the Buddha, and resolved to hold a council 
at Rajagrha. 7 Accordingly, Rajagrha is famous in the history of 
Buddhism as the place where 500 distinguished theras met under 
the leadership of the Venerable Mahakassapa to recite the doctrine 
and discipline of the Buddha, and fix the Buddhist canon. 3 All 
later traditions, whether in Pali or Sanskrit, tell us that the First 
Council was convoked in front of the SaptaparnI or Saptapama 
cave on a slope of the Vaibhara or Vaihara hill, and under the 
auspices of king Ajatasatru, who constructed a suitable mandapa 
(tent) for the purpose ; but the Vinaya account distinctly says that 
the main reason for selecting Rajagrha for the purpose was that it 
could afford spacious accommodation for the 500 theras. 

The shady slopes and caverns of the hills around Rajagrha 
were fitting places for the lonely meditation of bhikkhus and 
bhikkhunts, theras and theris. The sombre beauty of the hills arid 
the retreats was much praised by the Buddha. 9 

The Vimanavatthu Commentary points out that Rajagrha 
was much frequented by Gautama Buddha and his disciples. The 
people of Rajagrha were always ready to satisfy the needs of the 

1 Vinaya Pitaka, III, pp. 4i"5- 2 Satnantapasddikd, I, p. 72. 

s Digka Nikdya, II, pp. 72-89. 

* Paramatthadipar-l ■■>: the Petavattku, p. 212. 

e Mahdvamsa, p. 247. Ekatimsatimopartcchedo, v. 21. 

« Samantapa-sadikd, I, pp. 9 -ro. 7 Mahava^a, Chap. ?„ pp. 16 M). 

b Vinaya Cullavagga, XI. g Dtgha Ntkaya, II, p. 116. 


bhikkhus ' Buddhaghosa records various facts about Rajagrha. 
For instance, two chief disciples of the Buddha went to the city, 
and the inhabitants showered charities upon them. A silk robe was 
also riven in charitv to Devadatta (the Buddha s wicked cousin)." 
The SamatliapSsUm records that Rajagrha was a good place, 
having accommodation for a large number of bhikkhus.' We may 
also mention two Jataka references to legends regarding Rajagrha^ 

It is not possible to refer to all of the stories told of the Buddha s 
disciples and their connection with Magadha, and particularly 
Raia«rha We have already mentioned the fact that bariputta was 
a native of Magadha; he is often referred to in the Pah literature.' 
It was at Rajagrha that Anathapindika, the great banker of Sravasti, 
was converted by the Buddha.' The Manorathapuranl relates that 
Pindola Bharadvaja, one of the Buddha's foremost disciples, was 
born at Rajagrha in a rich Brahmin family.' It further narrates - 
that Cullapanthaka and Mahapantliaka, grandsons of Dhanasetthl, 
a banker of Rajagrha, could by their supernatural power create as 
many bodies as thev liked.' Kumarakassapa, foremost ot the 
orators amongst the Buddha's pupils, was born at Rajagrha 
While the Buddha was at Rajagrha at Kalandakamvapa, a party ot 
six bhikkhunis went to attend the Giraggasamaj ja, a kind of festival. 
Apparently such festivals were common in the Magadhan capital, tor 
we read in the Jataka (I, 489) that there was a festival at Rajagrha 
where people drank wine, ate flesh, danced and sang; and in the 
Visuddhimagga " we read of a festival at Rajagrha m which hve 
hundred virgins offered Mahakassapa-thera a kind of cake which 
he accepted. Another celebration known as Nakkhattakilam, ' sport 
of the stars ', in which the rich took part, used to be held at Rajagrha, 
and lasted a week. 18 . 

The Divvavadana contains several stones about Rajagrha. for 
instance, a householder went to sea with merchandise '"; on another 
occasion 500 merchants came to Rajagrha, but could not buy 
merchandise as there was a festival going on at the time." Once a 
childless merchant of Rajagrha died. The inhabitants of the 
town put seeds of various colours into a pot and declared that the 

1 VimdnavaUhu Comm., pp. 250-1 ; and see ibid., pp. 246-7, 27-8. 

" DMmmapada Comm., I, pp. 77!. ' Vol. I, P.T.S, pp. »-* 

• Jilako rf'ar.sbffil'i. Kb, 445, W, pp. 37 *>"■, »»■ 3H IV, pp. 33 I™. 

' See e c ■U:s ; uttaro V/fcmi. V. pp. 120-1 ; S^nyoit,: \ u:aya, IV, pp. 251-00. 
« Stmyutta Nitiya, I, pp. 55-6. ' Sinhalese Ed., p. r» 

* Manor d Si :,nWEd„pp. 130S. 

9 Ibid., pp. 173ft".; and see Dhdnimopodo Comm.. Ill, pp. 144 toll. 
10 Vinaya Pita'ka. IV, 267. " Vol. II, p. 403. 

12 VimdnavaUhu Comm., pp. 62-74. 13 p. 301- P- 3 ° 7 ' 


person who was able to pick out seeds of one colour only would 
become the merchant (i.e. his heir). 1 

A certain merchant of Rajagrha built a vihara for the bhikkhus.* 
The Vinaya Pitaka 3 tells us a story of a trader who had made pre- 
parations to go on a journev from Rajagrha to Patiyaloka, when a 
bhikkhu on his begging tour came to the trader's house for alms. 
The trader exhausted the food which he had collected for the journey, 
by giving it to several bhikkhus. Not being able to start Ins journey 
when he had intended, he set out late and was killed by robbers on 
the way. . . , . 

It is apparent from the foregoing references that many people 
of Magadha, and more especially of Rajagrha, were engaged in trade 
and commerce There are numerous references in the Jatakas to 
big bankers of Magadha in the Buddha's time. In the Asampaiana 
Jalaka, for instance, we find that a Magadhan settln or banker 
named Sahkha was the master of eighty crores of wealth. He had 
a friend in Benares who was also a banker, having the same amount 
of riches Sahkha helped his friend greatly, but was repaid by base 
ingratitude. Hearing of this ingratitude, the king caused the 
setthi of Benares to give all his wealth to his benefactor; but the 
Magadhan banker was so honest that he refused to take back more 
than his own money.' The Petavatlku Commentary tells us that 
there was a merchant at Rajagrha who was so very wealthy that his 
immense riches could not be exhausted even if 1.000 coins were 
spent every da.v. n 

Rajagrha 'the ancient capital of Magadha, had many names 111 
the course of its long history : and many explanations of these names 
have been put forward by various authorities, indigenous and 
foreign By some it was said that Rajagrha (Pah Rajagaha) was 
so clllcd because it was founded by a king, and every house 111 
it resembled a palace." Buddhaghosa says, however that the 
town was called Rajagaha because it was used as a residence (lit. 
seized) bv Mandhata, Mahagovinda, and the rest.' Dhammapala 
refers to another opinion accounting for the name Rajagaha as a 
prison for inimical kings (patirajfinam gahabhfltatta).» The town 
was also called Kusagrapura, 'the city of the superior reed-grass 
which abounded there,' or 'city of (King) Kusagra and Ginvraja,, * Vinaya Pitaka, II, p. 146- [ tf. pp. 79-80. 

' Jalaka (Fausboll), I, pp. 4*>'T- ' W ' 2 ^>' 

6 Spence HardV, Manual of Buddhism, p. 162, note. 

lassrs'r's^i 3 ^., P . „. a. B ^„»<^ r , *, <**. ,. 

according to which JarfisLmtfha imprisoned several kings in Rajagrlia. 
' Watters, On Yuan Ckwang, II, 148. 


because it was surrounded by mountains. 1 Girivraja is the name 
which was given in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the old 
capital of Jarasandha, king of Magadha. Dhammapala says that 
the place was originally built or planned by Mahagovinda, the 
famous architect, 2 while" in the Sdsanavamsa we read that King 
Mandhata was the founder of Rajagaha, 3 and in the Suitanifaia 
Commentary it is stated that Rajagaha was ruled by famous kings 
like Mandhata and Mahagovinda.* In the Jatakas it is mentioned 
as a great city. 5 

The Mahabharata describes Girivraja or Rajagrha, the capital 
of Jarasandha, as a city which had a teeming population and was 
noted for hot springs {tafodas). Jinaprabha-suri tells us that it 
contained 36,000 houses of merchants, half of which belonged to the 
Buddhists, while the other half belonged to the Jainas, shown forth 
in the middle as a row of magnificent buildings. 6 Buddhaghosa too 
mentions Rajagaha as a city, the inner and outer areas of which 
contained each nine crores of people. The city had 32 gates and 
64 posterns. 7 According to the Chinese pilgrims' accounts, high 
mountains surrounded it on every side and formed its external 
ramparts, as it were. On the west it could be approached through a 
narrow pass, while on the north there was a passage through the 
mountains. The town was extended (i.e. broad) from east to west, 
and narrow from north to south. It was about 150 li in circuit. 
The remaining foundations of the wall of the inner city were about 
30 li in circuit. Kanika trees with fragrant bright golden blossoms 
were on all the paths, and these made the woods in late spring all 
golden-coloured. 8 

Hsiian Tsang wotdd have us believe that the name Rajagrha 
was strictly applicable only to the new city built either by Bimbisara 
or by Ajatasatru, not far to the north-east from Venuvana ° (the old 
city being known as Girivraja). Fa-Hien too speaks of the 'old 
city' and the 'new city'. By the old city Hsiian Tsang distinctly 
means Kusagrapura, and by "the new city he means the city which 
King Ajatasatru made his capital. 

1 Mbh., Sabhaparvan, Chap. XXI, v. 3. For a detailed description of the 
mountains surrounding Rajagrha, see B. C. Law, Rajagrha in Ancient Literature, 
M.A.S.I., No. 58. 

2 Vimanavatthu Comm., p. 82. Makagovindapandiler.a Vatthuvijjavidhina 
sarmnadeva niyesite, sumapite. 

3 p. 152. * p. 413. 5 I, 39 1 - 
e Vividha-tirtha-kalpa, p. 22. 

7 Spence Hanh\ Manual of Buddhism, p. 323. 

8 Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, II, r5o; Watters, On Yuan 
Chwang, II, 148. 

9 Watters, On Yuan Ovmang, II, 162. 


The Jaina Vividha-tirtha-ialfa speaks of Rajagrha as .the 
residence of such kings and princes as Jarasandha, Sreruka, Kunika 
Abhaya, Megha, Halla, Vihalla and Nandiscna.' Sten.ka was n„ 
other than King Seniya Bimbisara of Pah literature, ami Kun ka 
was King Ajatasatm. Abhaya, Megha, Halla, Mhalla andlvandisena 
we have already referred to as sons of Bimbisara. 

During the reigns of Bimbisara and Ajatasatm, the city 01 
Rajagrha las at the height of its prosperity Anga forme d an 
integral part of the kingdom of Magadha, which "mpnsedan ar« 
covered by the districts of Gaya and Bhagalpur. The Jama texts 
describe Rajagrha as a city which was rich happy f£to?™$m 
but some two centuries after the death of Mahavira a tembfc femme 
visited Magadha." Rajagrha must have lost its .glory wrth tt* 
removal of the capital to Patahputra or Kusumapura by 
Udavibhadda, some 28 years after the Buddha s demise. .But : the 
Hathigumpha Inscription lifts the veil for a moment, and shows 
that when Brhaspatimitra was king of 1 agadha l™"4 c " tary 
B.C.), King Kharavela of Kalinga marched towards Magadha after 
having stormed Gorathagiri, and brought pressure to bear ^ upon 
Rajagrha (Rajagaham upapldapayatr).* Mjag*a .must have hem 
used by the then king of Magadha, if not as a capital at leases a 
strong fortress against foreign inroads. As was the case with most 
if not all ancient cities, Rajagrha was walled, we read 1 in th ^ 
Pitaka (IV PP 116-7) that the city-gate of Rajagrha was close a in 
fhe evening P aud then nobody, not even ^^'fJm^Z 
enter the city. The same inscription refers to Anga and Magadha 
as united into one kingdom. , 1 D Ire 

Whet. Fa-Hien visited the place m the hith century AV ne 
found the sites still there as of old, but inside the >**jV™* 
emptiness and desolation, no man dwelt in rtA lhe Karanda . 
Venuvana monastery- was still in existence, tenanted by a ™mpaay 
of monks'" At the time of Hsiian Tsang s visit in the serentn 
•eentan A D the old inhabitants of the city were 1 000 Brahmin 
farrufa' and many Digambaras lodged on the Pi-pu-lo (Valbhara) 
mountain and practised austerities.' H.veloo- 

Raia°rha was intimately associated not only with the dcwlop 
ment of fud a dhism, but also with its rival religion Jalnism and 
with earlier popular creeds such as Naga- and Yakkto- ' «raW 
Nagas and Vakkhas were popular objects o f wneiaaon in «!■»** 

2 y«)'«« SflAw, rt. 11. p. 419- 

1 p. 22 

»Legge'sFi-ffi«,p. 82. • /M., p. B4- 

' Watters, On Yitun Chiang. H, PP- 154, lb2 - 


in early times; while old ruined temples of Ganesa and Siva still 
remain" on Vaibhara-giri. Rajagrha was popularly known to have 
been so much under the influence of such malevolent spirits as 
Nagas and Yaksas that even the Buddhist bhikkhus had to be 
furnished with a Paritta or 'saving chant' in the shape of the 
Maha-atanatiya Suiianta for their protection against them. 1 The 
tapodas or hot springs and the Tapoda or Sarasvati carrying water 
from those hot springs were popularly regarded as punyatlrthas or 
places for holy ablutions. 2 The hot springs of Rajagrha survive 

Rajagrha was the earliest known stronghold of heresy and 
heterodoxy of the age. 3 The early records of Buddhism bring 
before us six powerful teachers, Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, 
Pakudha Kaccayana, Ajita Kcsakamball, Safijaya Belatthiputta 
and Nigantha Nataputta (i.e. Mahavlra), who proved founders of 
schools (titthakaras) and leaders of thought. Makkhali Gosala was 
the leader of the Ajivikas, and Nigantha Nataputta the leader of the 
Nirgranthas or Jainas. The beginnings of their career are bound 
up with the history of Rajagrha. 

Vardhamana Mahavlra was born in Magadha, 4 and he once 
preached at the court of Bimbisara with so much force and good 
logic that the heir, prince Nandisena, was converted. 5 Mahavlra 
spent fourteen rainy seasons in Rajagrha. 6 The eleven Gandharvas 
of Mahavlra died in Rajagrha after fasting for a month. 7 Jaya, son of 
King Samudravijaya of Rajagrha, renounced the world and practised 
self-restraint. 8 

Rajagrha was one of the three places selected by the 
Chabbaggiyas (Sadvargikas) of Vinaya notoriety, for planting centres 
of their mischievous activities. Rajagrha, too, was the place where 
Devadatta fell out with the Buddha, tried to do personal harm to 
him, fomented schism in the Sangha, and eventually created a 
division in it. 9 The Dhammafada Commentary records the jealousy 
of other sects towards Buddhism. Moggallana, for example, was" 
struck by certain fanatics with the help of some hired men. 10 In the 
Petavatthu Commentary, we read that many heretics of the 

1 Digha Nikdya, III, pp. ro^ff.; Samyutta Nihaya, II, pp. 259-62. 

* Walters, On Yuan Chwang, II, pp. 154, 162. 

» The Wanderer Mahasakuladiiyi informed the Buddha that Ahga and Magadha 
were full of sophistic activities {Majjhimct Sikaya, II, pp. 1-22). 

* Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, Heart of Jainism, p. 8. 6 Ibid., p. 126. 

8 Jaina Sutras, S.B.E., Vol. I, p. 364. 7 Ibid., p. 28?. 
a Ibid., II, pp. 86-7. For other mentions of. Rajagrha and Jainism, see ibid., 

II, pp. 3iff.,3o3f.n. 

9 Vinaya Cullavagga, VII. I0 III, PP- &ofi- 


Samsaramocaka caste lived in some villages of Magadha. 1 Some- 
where in Magadha, between Rajagrha and Uruvela, not far from the 
Mahanadi (Mohana) lived two teachers, Arada Kalama and Udra 
Ramaputra, who founded schools for the training of pupils in yoga. a 
The Brahmins who lived in Rajagrha and around it were mostly 
of the Bharadvaja-gotra. Some of 'them were agnihotris, some 
upholders of the cult of purity by birth, morals and penance. They 
were generally opposed to the conversion of any of their number to 
the Buddhist and other such non-Brahmanical faiths. 3 In the 
Buddha's time, Rajagrha was surrounded by many Brahmin villages 
or settlements. 4 . 

'What actually happened to the Buddhist Sangha at Rajagrha 
as a consequence of the transfer of the capital to Patahputra, we 
cannot precisely say. But we can tell from glimpses of fact here 
and there that the process of history was one of decay. Hsiian 
Tsang tells us that ' two or three li to the north-west of this (the 
Kalanda Tank to the north of the Venuvana monastery) was an 
Asoka tope beside which was a stone pillar, above 50 feet high, 
surmounted by an elephant, and having an inscription recording the 
circumstances" leading to the erection of the tope. 6 The circum- 
stances that led to the erection of the tope at Rajagrha by Asoka 
are also narrated bv the Pali scholiasts and chroniclers. The 
Mahavamsa says that the Venerable Indagutta (ludragupta) went 
from all places around Rajagrha as a representative to take part in 
the grand celebration of a Mahathupa in Ceylon during the reign of 
King Dutthagamani (second century B.C.). 6 As some of the images 
recently discovered at Rajagrha indicate, there was some amount 
of new vigour in Buddhist activities at the place under the patronage 
of the Pala kings, after which the history of Buddhism at Rajagrha 
became practically closed for ever. 

We have already indicated that Rajagrha was surrounded by 
mountains. The Rsigiri or Isigili, as its name shows, was a favourite 
hermits' retreat, 7 as indeed were the other mountains which encircled 

J Majjhma Nikdya, I, pp. 1S3/L; FausUHl, Jdlaka, I, pp. 66S.; Lalilavistara, 
pp. 2 4 3ff. ; Mahavaslu. Vol. II, p. "8; Vol. III. p. 322; Buddhacanta, VI, v. 54: 
Watters, On Yuan Chwang, II, p. 14*- „ „ ,., ,. ,„. 

a Samytdta Kikavu, I, pp. 1*0-7. See also Watters, On Yuan Lkwang, II, p. 102 , 
Samyutta'Nikiiya, II, pp. 23S-9; ibid., IV, p. 230. 
* E.g., hhinCdii Ambiisinida, Khanumata. 
5 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, II, p. 162. 

! ^MmTlMdyaJni, pp. 68-71 ; and see B. M. Barua's Historical Background 
of -Jinalogy and Buddhahgy', in the Calcutta Review, 1924, P- 61. 


the city J The most famous of these mountains was the GrdhrakQta 
or Gijjliakuta peak, so called either because it was shaped like 
vulture's beak, or because it was frequented by vultures. 2 Dhaniya, 
a potter's son, made a beautiful hothouse at the foot of the Gij jhakuta 
hill, and many people came to see it. 3 

The Vepullapabbata, which was once known as the 
Vankakapabbata, was another of the hills surrounding Rajagrha. 
King Vessantara was banished to this mountain, which was also 
called Supassa. It took three days to reach its summit. 4 

Among the villages which lay near Rajagrha was Ekanala, a 
Brahmin village in Dakkhinagiri, an important locality which lay to 
the south of the hills of Rajagrha. A Buddhist establishment was 
founded there. 5 The Samyutta Nikaya distinctly places it in the 
kingdom of Magadha, outside the area of Rajagrha. 6 

Nala, Nalaka, Nalagama or Nalakagama was a village m 
Magadha,' where Sariputta died. 7 The Vimanavatthu Commentary e 
locates Nalakagama in the eastern part of Magadha. The village 
of Kolika is also associated with Sariputta. 8 

Khanumata was a prosperous Brahmin village somewhere m 
Ma«adha, where a Vedic institution was maintained on a land granted 
by King Bimbisara. 10 The garden Ambalatthika in the vicinity of 
Khanumata became the site of a Buddhist establishment. The 
Rajagaraka at Ambalatthika was a garden house of King Bimbisara. 11 
Ambalatthika stood midway between Rajagrha and Nalanda, 1 * 
and was the first halting place on the high road which extended m 
the Buddha's time from Rajagrha to Nalanda and further east and 
north-east. 13 

The place where King Ajatasatru is said to have built a stupa 
for the enshrinement of bis share of the Buddha's relics " is an 
important site from the Buddhist point of view. Hsiiaii Tsang 
definitely tells us that this stupa stood to the east of Venuvana. 15 

1 For a full account of these mountains, and indeed for everything regarding 
Rrijagrka, see B. C. Law, Rajagrha in Ancient Literature, No. 58 of Memotrs oj the 
Archaeological Survey of India. 

2 Suttanipdia Cnmni., p. 413. 3 Vmaya Pitaka, III, 41-2. 

* Ibid., II, 19.T-2. 5 Saratthappakasim , I, p. 242. 

« Samvu/t'ii MItava, I, p. 172. 7 Ibid., V, p. 161. 8 p- 163. 

a Watters, On Yuan Chwemg, II, p. 171. Kolika was located eight or nine Ii 
(i i miles] south-west of the Nalanda monastery. 
10&11 Sumtingdlcr.Htiwiii, I, p. 41. 
12 Digha Xikiiva, I, p. 1; Sumangaluviliisini, I, p. 35. 

is Digha Nikaya, II, pp. 72ft 7 . .. - 

» Ibid., II, p. 106. See also Smmmgalavilasim, 11, pp. 611 and 013. Miuijitsn- 
midakalpa, p. 600. 

15 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, II, p. 158. 


The Veluvana or Venuvana was a charming garden, park or 
grove at Rajagrha, surrounded by bamboos.' The name may be 
translated 'Bamboo Grove' or ' Bamboo Park . lhe land was 
received as a gift by the Buddha. The fuller name of the site was 
Veluvana Kalandakanivapa, the second part of the name indicating 
that here the Kalandakas or Kalakas (squirrels or lays) roamed about 
freely and found a nice feeding ground. In the Pah accounts King 
Bimbisara figures as the donor of the garden It is certain that the 
site was outside the 'inner city'. Fa-Hien definitely informs us that 
the Karanda Bamboo Garden stood to the north of the old city, 
over 300 paces from the gate, on the west side of the road.* Hsuan 
Tsang adds further details regarding its site. 1 

Another grove which was presented to the Buddha and his 
Order was the Jlvaka-Ambavana, a mango-grove which Jivaka 
converted into a vihara, and gave to the Buddha and his Order 
King Ajatasatru had to go out of the city of Rajagrha to reach this 
orchard' In the commentary on the Samamtaphalit Sutta 
Buddhaghosa says that the king proceeded by the eastern gate oi 
the city the 'inner city of Rajagaha', under the coyer of the 
Giiihakuta mountain, because the mango-grove stood somewhere 
between the mountain and the city wall.' Fa-Hien places it at the 
' north-east corner of the city in a (large) curving (space) Hsuan 
Tsang too, locates the site 'in a bend of the mountain wall , north- 
east horn the (old) city.' According to Walters suggestion based 
upon a Chinese account in the Fo-shuo-slieng-ckmg Chap. II, the 
orchard 'was apparently in the inclosure between the city proper 
and the hills which formed its outer defences on the east side . 

Other sites in or near Rajagrha, which find mention in Pah 
literature, were the deer-park at Maddakuceh.,' Pippah- or *&*** 
guha a cave which became a favourite resort ot Mahakassapa,™ and 
which was visited by the Buddha," Ambasanda (Skt. Amrakhanda) 
a Bmhrmn village/ and the Latthivana (Skt Yastivana), the royal 
park of Bimbisara where the Buddha arrived from Gayasisa (the 

> Wattes, 0, Yuan Chwang, II, P- «"*• „.„ , * ■**• "■ P ' 1SI ' 

. Sir.tth,ppaM„nl, I, pp. 77-8, SanyuUa N.kay^ I p. HO 
10 Udana I D 4" Dhammapada Lomm. , II, pp. !',--'• ' h -,, - .','}-, 1 ,*. , 
^JS, p.M SS* Sia™* Ed., p. 77: «*****»*«*«. 

Pa *f, a S P FS.,», P. 85) Wat..,,, On Ymn Chiang, II, p. 154; &W— 

m Tm e i!&y. 11. P- *>3- Su********. "I. P- <*• 


main hills of Gaya) and halted with the Jatila converts on Ms way 
to the city of Rajagrha. 1 The Pasanaka-cetiya (Pasana-caitya) is 
famous in Buddhist tradition as the place where the Buddha had 
dehvered the Paravana Discourses, 2 now embodied m the con- 
cluding book of the Suttanipata. 3 Other places which find mention 
in Pali literature are Macalagama," Manimalaka-cetiya ■> and 
Andhaka-vindha." , 

The Majjhima Nikaya describes Senanigama, one of the villages 
of Magadha, as a very nice place having a beautiful forest and a river 
with transparent water. It was a prosperous village, alms being 
easily obtainable there. 7 

As already indicated, the later capital of Magadha was 
Pataliputra, near Patna of the present day, the seat of the 
Government of Bihar. Its ancient Sanskrit names were Kusumapura 
and Puspapura, from the numerous flowers which grew in the royal 
enclosure. The Greek historians call it Palibothra, and the Chinese 
pilgrims Pa-lin-tou. 

Hsiian Tsang, the great Chinese traveller, gives the following 
account of the legendary origin of the name of the city. Once 
upon a time, a very learned Brahmin had a large number of disciples. 
On one occasion a party of these disciples were wandering in a wood, 
and one youth among them appeared unhappy and disconsolate. 
To amuse the gloomy youth, bis companions arranged a mock 
marriage for him. A man and a woman were chosen to represent 
the bridegroom's parents, and another couple, the parents of the 
imaginary bride. They were all near a Patali tree, which was 
chosen to symbolise the bride. All the ceremonies of marriage were 
gone through, and the man acting as father of the bride broke off a 
branch of the Patali tree and gave it to the bridegroom. When all 
was over, his companions wanted the pseudo-bridegroom to go with 
them, but he insisted on remaining near the tree. Here at dusk an 
old man appeared with his wife and a young maiden, whom he gave 

i Vinaya, Mahavagga, I, p. 35; Fausboll, Jataka, I, pp. 83-5; Samantapasadika, 
Cevlonese Ed., p. 158; D. N. Sen, Rajgir and its neighbourhood, p. 1.3; Mahirasin. . 
Ill, p. 441 ; Watters, On Yuan Ckwcmg, II, pp. 146-8; see also Ancient Geography of 
India, p. 529. 

2 Commentary on the Cullaniddesa, Siamese Ed., p. 270. 

3 Suttanipata, pp. 2i8ff. 

* Fausboll, Jataka, I, pp. 199-206; Dhammapada Cotnm., I, pp. 265-80; 
Sumangalavilasim, III, pp. 7ioff. 

6 Samyitita Nikaya, I, p. 208. 

a Vinaya, Mahavagga, I, p. 109. Andhakavinda was connected with Rajagaha 
by a cart-road. 

7 I, pp. 166-7. 


to the young student to be his wife. The couple lived together in 
the forest for a year, when a son was born to them. The student, 
now tired of the lonely life of the woods, wanted to go back to his 
home but the old man, his father-in-law, induced him to remain by 
promising him a properly built establishment. Afterwards, when the 
seat of government was removed to this place, it received the name 
Patahputra, because it had been built by gods for the son of the 

a ' According to Jaina tradition, Patahputra was built by Udaya, 
son of Darsaka, but the first beginnings were made by Ajatasatru, 
for the Buddha, when on his way to Vaisali from Magadha, saw 
Aiatasatru's ministers measuring out a town. 2 

1 Patahputra was originally a village of Magadha, known as 
Pataligama which lay opposite to Kotigama on the other side of the 
Ganges which formed a natural boundary between Magadha and the 
territory^ the Vrji-Licchavis of Vaisali. The Magadhan village was 
one of the halting stations on the high road which extended from 
Ra]agrha to Vaisali and other places. The fortification of Panama 
which was undertaken in the Buddha's lifetime by the two Brahmm 
ministers of Magadha, Sunidha and Vassakara, led to the foundation 
of the c ty of Patahputra,' to which the capital of Magadha was 
removed by Udavi or Udayibhadda, the son and successor of 
AlftaTatru Thus it may be established that Ajatasatru was the 
read tailler of Patahputra, which was in fact the new Mjagrtra or 
new capital of Magadha, as distinguished from the old Rajagrha 
or Girivraia with its outer area. . 

This tradition somehow became twisted and led fcta« 
DilErims Fa-Hien and Hsiian Tsang to speak of the old city and the 
'new dry' of Rajagrha, both with reference to Girlvraja, crediting 
AfaTasatru with ie building of the 'new ^ty- Fa-aen says that a 
vojana to the west from Nala, the place of birth and death of Sa i- 
putra, brought him to 'New Rajagrha the new city which was built 
by Eng Ajatasatru'. There were then (fifth century A.D.) two 
monasteries in it. It was enclosed by a wall with four gates. Three 
nZdred paces outside the west gate was the stupa erected by 
Amtaiatru over a portion of the relics of Buddha. Some four h 
tesf tan a mile) south from the south gate was the old city of 
King Bimbisara, 'a circular space for med by five hills . 

i Witters On Yiaw i'h«:tm£. Vol. II, p. 87. . ■ 

' "™» Pitdiputmiv H. C. Chakladar in the Modem B«to», March 

rorS, w£re thJ traditions about 'the foundation of Patahputra are discnsrf at 

some length. , .,. . . T , 

3 Digha Nikaya, II, pp. 86ff.; Sumangalavtlasmt, II, p. 54°' 

4 Legge, Fa-Hien, pP- 8 1-2. 


There may be some truth in the suggestion made by Hsiian 
Tsang that the cause of removal of the capital was a fire which 
broke out in the old capital. 1 

Pataliputra was built near the confluence of the great rivers of 
Mid-India, the Gauges, Son and Gandak, but now the Son has 
receded some distance away from it. The city was protected by a 
moat 600 ft. broad and 30 cubits in depth. At a distance of 24 ft. 
from the inner ditch there stood a rampart with 570 towers and 
64 gates. The Samantapasadika informs us that Pataliputra had 
four gates, Asoka's income from them being 400,000 kahapanas 
daily. In the Sabha (council), he used to get 100,000 kahapanas 
daily. 2 

Pataliputra was the capital of the later Sisunagas, the Naiidas, 
and also of the great Mauryan emperors, Candragupta, and Asoka, 
but it ceased to be the ordinary residence of the Gupta sovereigns 
after the completion of the conquests made by Samudragupta. 3 

Fa-Hien came to Pataliputra in the fifth century A.D. The 
Chinese pilgrim was so much impressed by the glory and splendour 
of the city that he says that ' the royal palace and halls in the midst 
of the city were all made by spirits which Asoka employed, and 
which piled up the stones, reared the walls and gates, and executed 
the elegant carving and inlaid sculpture-work in a way which no 
human hands of this world could accomplish'. There was in the 
city a Brahmin named Radhasami, a professor of the Mahayana 
system of Buddhism. By the side of the tope of Asoka there was 
also a Hinayana monastery. The inhabitants of the city were rich, 
prosperous and righteous. 4 Fa-Hien further gives an interesting 
description of a grand Buddhist procession at Pataliputra. 6 

Hsiian Tsang says that south of the Ganges lay an old city above 
70 li (about 14 miles) in circuit, the foundations of which were still 
visible, although the city had long been a wilderness. He notes 
that it was first called Kusumapura, and then Pataliputra. 6 The 
poet Dandin speaks of Pataliputra as the foremost of all the cities, 
and full of gems. 7 

During the reign of Candragupta Vikramaditya, Pataliputra was 
still a magnificent and populous city, and was apparently not ruined 
until the time of the Hun invasion in the sixth century. Harsa- 
vardhana, when he ruled N. India as a paramount sovereign (612-47 

1 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, II, pp. i6r-2. 

2 Samantapasadika, I, p. 52. 

s V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 309. 

* Legge, Fa-Hien, pp. 77-8. B Ibid., Chaps. X-XVII- 

< Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 87. . 

1 Dasakumdracaritam, 1st Ucchvasa, si. 2, Purvapithika. 


A D ) made no attempt to restore the old Magadhan Imperial 
capital Pataliputra. 1 About 600 A.D. Sasanka Narendragupta, 
king of Gauda and Karnasuvama, destroyed the ' Buddha's foot- 
prints ' at Pataliputra, and smashed many Buddhist temples and 
monasteries.' ' Bharmapala, the most powerful of the Pala kings of 
Bengal and Bihar, took some steps to renew the glory of Pataliputra, 
but the interests of the Pala monarehs seem to have been centred m 
Bengal rather than in Magadha. 3 

As might be expected, the Pali Buddhist literature has references 
to Pataliputra, but as it had not grown up into a city m the Buddha s 
lifetime it does not find such frequent mention as Rajagrha, the 
ancient capital. However, on_one occasion, the upasakas of Patall- 
gama as it then was, built ail Avasathagara (living-house), and they 
invited the Buddha on the occasion of its opemng ceremony.* An 
influential Brahmin householder of Benares named Ghotamukha 
built a vihara at Pataliputra for Udena, a bhikkhu, and the vihara 
was called Ghotamukhi. 5 Another bhikkhu, Bhadda, dwelt at 
Knkkutarama near Pataligama, and had conversations with Ananda, 
the Buddha's famous disciple. 8 . 

The DBhavimisa contains a long story concerning King Panou 
of Pataliputra, the heretical Kiganthas, and King Guhasiva, a vassal 
of Pandu. In brief, the Niganthas went to Pandu to complain 
that Guhasiva worshipped the tooth-rehc of the Buddha, instead of 
Pandu's gods Brahma, Sva and the rest. Pandu, angered, sent a 
subordinate king called Cittayana to arrest and bring Guhasiva to 
him with the tooth-relic. However, Cittayana was converted by 
Guhasiva to be a follower of the Buddha, and together they went 
to Pataliputra, where a series of miracles ensued as every eflort 
made by Pandu to destroy the relic failed. Finally, King Pandu was 
convinced of the relic's miraculous properties, and gave up his raise 

belief ' j 

Sthulabhadra, leader of some of the Jaina bnikttras, summoned 
a council at Pataliputra (about 200 years after Mahaviras, death) 
in the absence of Bhadrabahu and his party, to collect the Jama 
sacred literature. Bhadrabahu on his return refused to accept the 
work of the Council of Pataliputra. 8 

1 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed. , p. 3i«- 

1 S. C. Vidvabhusaria, History of Indian Logtc, p. 349- 

* Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., pp. 3 10 ""- 
f Vinayapitaka, I, pp. 226-8. 

5 Majjhima Nikaya, II, pp. 157 Io11 ' 

6 Samyutta Nikaya, V, pp. 15-16. I7 1-2 - . 

* See B. C. Law, Dathdvamsa, Intro., pp. xu-siv. 

8 Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, Heart of Jaimsm, p. 72. 


Pataliputra coins had their own individual marks. 1 The dis- 
coveries of punch-marked coins give the death-blow to the theory 
that all symbols on them 'were affixed haphazard by shroffs and 
moneyers through whose hands the coins passed', and give rise to 
the incontestable conclusion that they constitute 'coinages' peculiar 
to three different provincial towns, one belonging to Taxila, the 
second to Pataliputra, and the third to Vidisa (Bhilsa) of Central 

The following are the interesting discoveries made by the 
Archaeological Department of the Government of India at the site 
of Pataliputra : — 

i. Remains of wooden palisades at Lohanipur, Bulandi- 
bagh, Maharajganj and Mangle's tank. 

2. Punch-marked coins found at Golakpur. 

3. Didargauj statue. 

4. Durukhia Devi and Peiso-Ionic capital. 

5. The railing pillar probably belonging to the time of the 


6. Coins of Kushan and Gupta kings. 

7. Votive clay tablet found near Purabdarwaza. 

8. Remains of Hmayana and Mahayana monasteries at the 

time of Fa-Hien, the temples of Sthulabhadra and 

other Jaina temples and the temples of Choti and Ban 

Patan Devis. 3 

Nalanda * was a famous seat of learning in ancient India. It 

was a village which Cunningham identifies with modern Baragaon, 

seven miles north of Rajgir in Bihar. 6 Nalanda is mentioned in the 

Mahdvastu Avadana B as a very prosperous place at no great distance 

from Rajagrha. , 

After the nirvana of the Buddha, five kings, named bakraditya, 
Buddhagupta, Tathagatagupta, Baladitya and Vajra, built five 
sangharamas or monasteries at Nalanda.. 7 In the Buddha's time, 
Nalanda was one of the halting stations on the high road connecting 
Rajagrha with Pataligama, Kotigama, Vaisali, etc. Buddhaghosa 
knew it as a town at a distance of one yojana {about 7 miles) from 

1 Carmichael Lectures, 1921, p. too. 2 Ibid^.p. 99. 

3 Patalipiifra bv Manoratijan Ghosh, pp. 14-15. 

* For an interesting account of Halanda vide Nalanda (J.M.U., Vol. XIII, No. 2) 
by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A. Ghosh, A Guide to Nalanda (Delhi, 193a), Nalanda in 
Ancient Literature (gth Indian Oriental Conference, 1930) and Rarsha (Oxford) by 
Dr. R. K. Mookerji. 

6 Cunningham, Ancient Geography, p. 537. 8 Vol. Ill, p. 56. 

t Walters, On Yuan Ckwang, II, pp. 164-5. 


Raiagrha ' Cunningham identifies the ancient site with the modem 
village of Baragaon which lies at the northern end of the precincts 
of the Nalanda Mahavihara. The Pali texts, however, refer not so 
much to Nalanda itself as to Pavarika's mango-grove in its vicinity 
as the real place of importance both to the Buddhists and the Jamas. 
According to the tradition recorded by Hsiian Tsang, ' m a Mango 
Wood to the south of this monastery was a tank the dragon of winch 
was called Nalanda, and the name was given to the monastery. But 
the facts of the case were that Ju-lai (Buddha) as a P usa (Bodhisattva) 
had once been a king with his capital here, that as king he had been 
honoured by the epithet Nalanda or ' Insatiable in giving on account 
of his kindness and liberality, and that this eptthet was given as its 
name to this monastery'. The grounds of the establishment were 
originally a mango park bought by 500 merchants for ten kotis ot 
gold coins and presented by them to the Buddha." 
g Nalanda was often visited by the Buddha.* Mahakassapa 
who was at first a follower of a heretical teacher met the Buddha 
for the first time while he was seated on the road 1 between. R*l^ 
and Nalanda. He declared himself a follower of the Buddha.' I he 
Mamma Nikaya tells us that once Nigantha Nataputta was at 
B with a large retinue of his followers. A Jama named 

at Nalanda, and the Buddha converted many of Mahavira s M°«£ 
In the Jaina SMras we read that there was at Nalanda = 1 nouseholder 
named Lena who was rich and prosperous Lepa had a beautiful 
batting hall containing many hundreds of pillars. There was a 
nark called Hastivama Once Gautama Buddha lived at Nalanda. 
He had a discussion with Udaka, a nigantha and follower of Parsva 
wholailed to accept Gautama's views as to the effect o : karma? 
It was at Nalanda that Mahavira spent the second year of ta 
asceticism and here, too, that he found many rich supporters. The 
S^S„ (p. I«| informs us that Mahavira spent as many as 
fourteen rainy seasons at Rajagrha and Nalanda. 

According to Tibetan accounts, the quarter in which the Nalanda 
University with its grand library, was located, was called DtormJ- 
g4n[a (Hety Mart). It co nsisted of three grand buildings called 

1 SumaigdiaiOsim. Ill, p. 873; I, p. 35: B*W»M» tmm ?*»>* 

yujanam eva. 

2 Maijhima Xikilya. I, p. 37 1 - 

• tt2&S&&££. ^r; .«., n. PP. •** *** "■•* 

IV, p. no, giifi., 314-7- 

5 Samyutta Nikaya, II, pp. raft g E n _ 20 . 

o Majjhima Nikaya, I, pp. 37 lff - »■»•«-< t*T "t*n 


Ratnasagara, Ratnodaclhi and Ratnaranjaka respectively. 1 
Dharmapala, a native of Kancipura in Dravida (modern Conjeeveram 
in Madras) studied at the University of Nalanda and acquired great 
distinction. In course of time he became the head of the University.* 
Silabhadra, a Brahmin, came of the family of the king of Samatata 
(Bengal). . He was a pupil of Dharmapala, and in course of time he 
too became the head of the University. 3 The Chinese pilgrim, I-tsing, 
who started for India in 671 A.D., arrived at Tamralipti at the mouth 
of the Hooghly in 673 A.D. He studied Buddhist literature at 
Nalanda.. 4 He relates that venerable and learned priests of the 
Nalanda monastery used to ride in sedan chairs, never on horseback. 6 

According to Dr. S. C. Vidyabhusana, the year 450 A.D. is the 
earliest limit which we can roughly assign to the royal recognition of 
Nalanda. e 

Besides Nalanda, Magadha had other great seats of Buddhist 
learning which attracted students from all parts of India and beyond, 
such as the Universities of Odantapuri and Vikramasila. In the 
eighth century A.D., Gopala, the founder of the Pala dynasty of 
Bengal, founded a great monaster}' at Uddandapura or Otantapuri 
in Bihar. 7 As a University, the glories of Vikramasila were hardly 
inferior to those of Nalanda. Hither too came students from Tibet, 
and Tibetan works tell us how Dipankara or Srijfiana Atlsa, a native 
of Bengal, who was at the head of the University from 1034-8 A.D., 
was induced to go to Tibet and establish the Buddhist religion there. 8 

The Vikramasila Vihara was a Buddhist monastery situated on a 
bluff hill on the right bank of the Ganges, and had sufficient space 
within it for a congregation of 8,000 men with many temples and 
buildings. On the top of the projecting steep hill of Patharghata, 
there are the remains of a Buddhist monastery, and the space covered 
by the ruins is large enough to hold an assembly of many thousands 
of people. This Patharghata was the ancient Vikramasila. 9 It is 
said, to have included 107 temples and 6 colleges. 10 This University 
was known for its output of numerous commentaries. It was a centre 

1 History of Indian Logic, p. 516; see also H. D. Sankalia, The University of 
Nalanda (Madias, 1934). 

2 Ibid., p. 302; Beat, Buddhist Records of the Western World, II, p. no. 
8 Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, II, p. iro. 

* I-tsing, Records of the Buddhist Religion, Intro., p. xvii. 

E Ibid., p. 30. 

fi History of Indian Logic, pp. 514-5. 

7 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 413; cf. EHot, Hinduism and 
Buddhism, Vol. II, p. rn. 

8 Journal of the Buddhist Text Society, Vol. I. 

» J.A.S.B., New Series, Vol. V, No. I, pp. 1-13. 
10 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 414. 


not only of tantric learning but of logic and grammar, and is interest- 
ing as showing the connection between Bengal and Tibet. 1 King 
Dharmapala endowed the University with rich grants sufficing for the 
maintenance of 108 resident monks, besides numerous non-resident 
monks and pilgrims. At the head of the University, there was 
always a most learned and pious sage. Thus, at the time of 
Dharmapala, Acarya Euddhajnanapada directed the affairs of the 
University. Grammar, metaphysics (including logic) and ritualistic 
books were especially studied at Vikramasila. On the walls of the 
University were painted images of panditas (learned men) eminent for 
their learning and character. The distinguished scholars of the 
University received diplomas of fiandita from the king himself. 
The most erudite sages were appointed to guard the gates of the 
University, which were six in number. 

The University of Vikramasila is said to have been destroyed by 
the Mohammedan invader, Bakhtiar Khalji, about 1203 A.D., when 
Sakya &ri Pandita of Kashmir was at its head. 2 

Like princes of most other Indian States, Magadhan princes 
were frequently educated at Taxila. One Magadhan prince, 
Duyyodhana, as we learn from the Jdtaka, went to Taxila to learn 
the arts. He later became king, and used to give alms to Sramanas, 
Brahmanas and others, observe the precepts and_ perform many 
meritorious deeds. 8 The Ddrimukha and Sankhafiala Jdtakas have 
references to the education of Magadhan princes at Taxila.* 

Magadha was the birthplace of JIvaka, the famous physician, 
who educated himself at Taxila and on his return to his native city 
was appointed physician to the royal family. 5 His success m 
operating on King Bimbisara won for him the post of royal physician, 
and the king later appointed him physician to the Buddha and the 
congregation of bhikkhus. Once, we are told, Magadha was badly 
attacked by five kinds of diseases, and Jivaka had to treat the 
suffering bhikkhus. 8 

The Jatakas are full of interesting information about Magadha. 
From them we learn that Magadha was famous for conch shells ; 
that white elephants were used there by the royal family 8 ; that 
agriculture was prosperous, and that some Brahmins used to cultivate 

1 Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. II, p. m. 

2 S. C. Vidvabhusana, History of Indian Logic, pp. 519-20. 

3 Jdtaka (Fausboil); V, pp. 161-3. 

* III (Fausboll), pp. 238-40. Needless to say, the Jataka contains : many 
stories of supposed previous incarnations of the Buddha, in the course of which he 
was born in Magadha, e.g. Ill, pp. 238-40 ; I, pp. rgg, 213, 373- 

6 Vinaya Pitaka, I, pp. 71 foil. ' **"*-' '■ p " "' 

» Jdtaka (Fausboil), VT, p. 465- ""*■' *' P " ***■ 


land themselves in Magadha. 1 The Vinaya Pitaka states that the 
fields of Magadfaa were well divided for the purpose of cultivation.* 
We have already noted that there were stated to be 80,000 villages 
in Magadha in King Bimbisara's time. A story reminiscent of the 
Fools of Gotham is that of a particular village inhabited by fools who 
once went to the forest where they used to work for their livelihood. 
They had to pay the penalty for their foolishness by losing their 
lives while trying to destroy mosquitoes with bows and arrows. 3 

The Lakkhana Jataka refers to the destruction of paddy by 
deer which used to come to the field during the harvest. The 
Magadhans laid traps and devised various other means to capture 
and kill them. 4 

The Anguttara Nikaya mentions Magadha as one of the sixteen 
great janapadas or provinces of ancient India, stating that it was full of 
seven kinds of gems, and had immense wealth and power. 5 Hsiian 
Tsang gives a fair account of Magadha in the seventh century A.D. 
According to him, the country was 5,000 li in circuit. There were 
few inhabitants in the walled cities but the other towns were fully 
populated. The soil was rich and yielded luxurious crops. It 
produced a kind of rice with large grain of extraordinary fragrance. 
The land was low and moist, and the towns were on plateaux. From 
the beginning of summer to the middle of autumn, the plains were 
flooded, and boats coidd be used. The climate was hot, and the 
inhabitants were honest, esteemed learning, and revered Buddhism. 
There were above 50 Buddhist monasteries and more than 10,000 
ecclesiastics, for the most part adherents of the Mahayana system. 
There were some deva temples, and the adherents of the various 
sects were numerous. 8 

On accoimt of Magadha's predominant political position, the 
language spoken there obtained recognition all over India in very 
early times. The Mahavamsa goes so far as to tell us that the 
Magadhi language is the root of all Indian languages. 7 It was in 
this Magadhi language that Buddhaghosa translated the Sinhalese 
commentary on the Tripitaka. 8 At the time of Asoka, as the 
numerous inscriptions scattered all over India show, the dialect of 
Magadha must have been understood over the greater part of India. 

1 Jataka fPausboll), IV, pp. 276-7. Cf. the Story of Bharadvaja. 

2 Vinaya Pitaka, I, p. 287. 3 Makasn Jataka; Jataka, I, p. 246. 

* Jataka (Fausboll), I, p. 143; cf. ibid., p. 154. 

5 1, 213; IV, 252, 256, 260. Cf. Mahavasht, ed. Senart, II, p. 419. 

* Watters.Ofi Ymn Chiang, IS, pp. 86-7; Heal, Buddhist Records of the Western 
World, II, pp. 82-3. 

7 C{Uavamsa,2j,vs. 230,242-4: Sabbesam mulabhUsaya Mdgadhayaniruttiya. 

8 B. C. Law, The Life and Work of Buddhaghosa, p. 37. 


The Videhas are mentioned in the Brahmana portion of the 
Vedas as a people in a very advanced stage of civilisation. The 
part of the country' where they lived appears to have been known 
by the name of Videha even in the still more ancient times of the 
Samhitas, for the Yajurveda Samhitas mention the cows of Videha, 
which appear to have been particularly famous in ancient India. 1 

According to Julius Eggeling, a confederacy of kindred peoples 
known as the Kosala-Videhas, occupying a position of no less impor- 
tance than that of the Kuru-Pancalas, lived to the east of the 
Madliyadesa at the time of the redaction of the Brdhmanas. The 
legendary account is that these people claimed Videgha Mathava 
as their common ancestor, and the two branches are said to have 
been separated from each other by the river Sadanira (corresponding 
either to the Rapti or to the Gandak). In Eggeling 's opinion, the 
Videha country in those days constituted the extreme east of the 
land of the Aryans. 1 Dr. Weber notes that the Aryans, led by 
Videgha Mathava and his priest, apparently pushed up the river 
Sarasvati as far east as the river Sadanira which formed the western 
boundary of the Videhas, or more probably the Gandak ( ? = Sadanira) 
which was the boundary between the Kosalas and the Videhas. 3 

The Videha country, as we have seen, is said to have derived 
its name from this King Videgha Mathava or Videha Madhava, who 
introduced the sacrificial fire; and according to some, this introduc- 
tion of the sacrificial fire is symbolical of the inauguration of the 
Brahmanical faith in the region. This legend, which is of importance 
in connection with the question of Aryan settlement m the Videha 
country may be read in full in the Satapaiha Brahmana. According 
to this account, King Mathava Videgha carried Agm Valsvanara 
(=fire) in his mouth. When invited to do so, Agm sprang forth, and 
started to flash over the ground, burning it up. Starting from the 
river Sarasvati, he went burning along towards the east, drying 
up all the rivers. Only he did not burn over the nver Sadanira. 

i The commentator of the TaiUinya Samhita explains the adjective VaidM 
bv Yiiisla-ieM-samhandhiiii, 'having a splendid body (see 1 tdic Index, Vol. II, 
p. 208 and Keith's Veda of the Black Yajus 1 School, Vol. I, p. 130). 

* SatapatU Brihrnima, S.B.B.. Vol. XII, Intro. XLII-XLIII. 

8 S.B.E., Vol. XII, p. 104 f. 


flowing from the Northern (Himalaya) mountain. 'That one of the 
Brahmanas did not cross in former times, thinking, "It has not been 
burnt over by Agni Vaisvanara ". Nowadays, however (i.e. m the 
time of the Satapatha Brahmana), there are many Brahmanas 

to the east of it Mathava, the Videgha, then 'said (to Agm), 

" Where am I to abide ?" "To the east of this (river) be thy abode", 
said he. Even now this (river) forms the boundary of the Kosalas 
and the Videhas; for these are the Mathavas (or descendants of 
Mathava).' l . 

Great importance has rightly been attached to this passage 
which, since the days of Professor Weber, has been taken by scholars 
to indicate the progress of Vedic Aryan civilisation from N.W. 
India towards the east. Though we cannot be sure about this 
point yet it shows at least that in which times the Satapatha 
Brahmana considers ancient, the Videha country had received 
Vedic civilisation, and the cult of offering sacrifices in fire had 
developed there. According to tradition, the Satapatha Brahmana 
was compiled in the Videha country by Yajnavalkya who flourished 
at the court of the Emperor (Samrat) Janata, though parts of it 
bear testimony to its having originated like the other great Brahmana 
in the country lying farther to the west. 

In the later Mantra period, Videha must have been organised 
so far as to take a leading part in Vedic culture, and the Satapatha 
Brahmana clearly indicates that the great spiritual and intellectual 
lead offered by Samrat Janaka and Rsi Yajnavalkya was accepted 
by the whole of N. India. Rsis from the Kuru-Pancala regions 
flocked to the court of Janaka and took part in the discussions 
held about the. supreme Brahman; and they had to admit the 
superior knowledge of Yajnavalkya. In our opinion, the Videha 
country must have received Vedic culture long before the time of the 
compilation of this Brahmana, for we find in the Brhadaranyaka 
Upanisad which forms a part of it, that Samrat Janaka of Videha 
was a great patron of Vedic culture, and that Rsis from the whole 
of N. India repaired to his court. 2 

From the Brhadaranyaka account, it would seem that at the 
time of the Satapatha Brahmana the Videha Brahmanas were 
superior to the Kuru-Pafkalas as regards the Upanisadic phase of 
the development of Vedic culture. 

In other works of the Brahmana period as well as of the Sutra 
period that followed, other celebrated kings of Videha are mentioned 
(vide Vedic Index, II, 298), so that there can be no question but that 

1 Satapatha Brahmana, transl. Ending, S.B.E., XII, pp. 104-6. 

2 Cf., for example, the story of Yajiiavalkya and the co>vs, Bfh, Up., Ill, i~9- 


the Videhas maintained a high position in Vedic society at least in 
the Brahmana period, and from the superior intellectual position 
that they had attained in this period it is legitimate to assume that 
Vedic Aryan culture had taken its root in Videha long before the 
Brahmana age, and most probably in the early Samhita age of the 

The Jataka stories, too, refer to sacrifices performed by the 
Videhan kings, saying that goats were sacrificed in the name of 
religion. 1 We are told in the Puranas that Nimi, Iksvaku's son, 
performed a sacrifice for a thousand years, with the help of Vasis^ha 
who had previously officiated as high-priest at a certain Yajna 
performed by Indra.* 

The evidence of the Adhyatma Ramayana also testifies to the 
sacrificial activities of the Videhan royal family. Visvamitra is 
represented as saying to Rama : ' We are going to Mithila, of which 
Janaka is the ruler. After attending the great Yajna of Janaka 
we shall make for Ayodhya'. 3 

Coming to the Epic age, we find Ramacandra, the hero of the 
Ramayana, marrying Vaidehi (= Slta), the adopted daughter of 
Janaka, 'king of Mithila. 4 This Janaka is probably not the same 
person as the patron of Yajnavalkya; it appears that several 
sovereigns of the dynasty bore that name which had been rendered 
glorious by the intellectual and political powers of the Vedic king. 
The Ramayana gives a splendid picture of the Videhan capital and 
the wide and' richly equipped sacrificial ground of King Janaka 

The distance between Mithila and Ayodhya may be gauged from 
the fact that during the reign of Janaka, king of Videha, it took 
Visvamitra together with Rama and Laksmana, four days to reach 
Mithila from Ayodhya. On the way they rested for one night only, 
at Visala ■ The messengers sent by Janaka reached Dasaratna s 
capital in three days of very fast travelling; while Dasaratha on 
his journey to the Videhan capital in his chariot took tour days. 
Mithila is identified by tradition with the modern Janakapura m the 
hills in the present Nepalese territories; a large number ot pilgrims 
visit it every year. , . . , 

Videha; its capital, Mitliila, and its Kmg Janaka are mentioned 
many times in the Mahabharata. After Yudhisthira s accession to 
the throne of Indraprastha, before the Raiasiiya sacrifice, Bhima 

1 Jataka (FausboU), Vol. I, pp. i66ff. 

B Vwupur3na,p. 246 <VadgftVasi*4i*A>m- $ an kara 

> Aihyitma Rimiyana, Balakanfa, Chap. VII, P- <*. K" 1 " ^n* 3 "" 
Vidyaratna's edition. 

* Ramayana, Balatetufa (Bombay edition), Chap. 73- 
5 Ramayana (Vahgavasi edition), 1-3. 


defeated the king of the Videha people in the course of his digvijaya} 
Kama also conquered Mithila, the Videha capital, during his 
digvijaya* The celebrated sacrifice of Janaka is referred to m 
several places, 3 while a conversation between Janata and Yajna- 
valkya is related in the Sanliparvan (Chap. 311). There are many 
references to Janaka's spiritual enlightenment, his talks with 
Pahca-sikha, with Sulabha and others, and the teaching imparted by 
him to the voung Suka. 1 Krsna, together with Bhimasena and 
Arjuna, visited Mithila on his way from Indraprastba to Rajagrha. 5 
The Videhas are mentioned twice in the list of peoples in the 
Bhlsmaparvan: once as Videhas along with the Magadhas, and once 
as Vaidehas along with the Tamraliptakas. 

The Visnupurana also mentions the Videha country, furnishes 
a list of its 'rulers from ancient times, and gives a fanciful account 
of the origin of the name of Videha and also that of Mithila, the 
capital. The story goes that Vasistha, having performed the sacrifice 
of Indra, proceeded to Mithila. to commence the sacrifice of King 
Nimi. On reaching there he found that the king had engaged 
Gautama to perforin the sacrificial rites. Seeing the king asleep 
he cursed him thus: 'King Nimi will be bodiless (videha, vi-vigata- 
deha), inasmuch as he having rejected me has engaged Gautama'. 
The king on awakening cursed Vasistha, saying that he too would 
perish, as he had cursed a sleeping king. Rsis churned the dead 
body of Nimi, and as a result of the churning a child was born, after- 
wards known as Mithi 6 (supposedly from tnanth, to churn). Accord- 
ing to the Bhavisyapurana, Nimi's son Mithi founded a beautiful 
city which was 'named Mithila after him. From the fact of his 
having founded the city, he came to be known as Janaka ('begetter, 
creator'). 7 The Mahagovinda Suttanta of the Digha Nikaya gives 
another account of the origin of Mithila, stating that it was built by 
Govinda. 8 

Undoubtedly the most important Videhan king was Janaka, 
but we find references to other kings in ancient literature, namely 
Sagaradeva, Bharata, Angirasa, Ruci, Suruci, 9 Patapa, Mahapatapa, 

1 Sahkaparvan, Chap. 30. a Vanaparvan, 254. 

* Ibid., Chaps. 132, 134, etc. 

* Santiparvan, Chap. 327, etc. 
5 Sabhdparvan, 20. 

B Visnupurana, pp. 388JT. See also Bkagavatapurana, IX, 24, 64. 

7 Bhavisyapurana: ' Sinuh Putrasttt tatraiva .. pur ij annua sama-Hhiit Jannkah 
sa ca kirtiiak'. See also BhSgavatapurdna , IX, 13, 13, where the story of the 
founding of Mithila is also related. 

s P.T.S., Vol. II, p. 235- - „ 

■ For the story of Surud's childless queen, see Jataka (Fausbdll), IV, pp. 314 t»u. 


Sudassana, Neru, Mahasammata, Mucala, Mahamucala, two 
Kalyanas, 1 &atadhanu of ill-fame, a Makhadeva, Sadhina and others. 

Kings of Videha usually maintained friendly relations with 
neighbouring powers. We have already referred to the marriage of 
Sita and Ramacandra, son of Dasaratha, king of Kosala. Instances 
of matrimonial alliances concluded by the kings of Videha with the 
neighbouring royal families occur also in later literature. Dr. D. R. 
Bhandarkar points out that in the plays of Bhasa, Udayana is called 
Vaidehiputra, indicating that his mother was a princess of Videha. 3 
In the Buddhist literature we have a reference to a Videhan princess 
(no doubt a queen of Bimbisara), who was the mother of Ajatasatru. 
Her name was Vasavi.* 

Vardhamana Mahavira, the great founder of Jaimsm, ' a Videha, 
son of Videhadatta, a native of Videha, a prince of Videha, had lived 
thirty years in Videha when his parents died'. 5 Mithila was his 
favourite resort, and he spent six monsoons there. 8 

At the time when the Buddha preached his gospel, we find the 
ancient Videha country cut up into parts, the Licchavis occupying 
the foremost position. Eight peoples are named as making up the 
Vajjian confederacy, the Licchavis and the Videhas occupying a 
prominent position. The confederacy, according to Kautilya, was a 
' raja&abdofiapw' Sangha. 7 Videha was twenty-four yojanas m 
length from the river Kausiki to the river Gandak, and sixteen 
vojanas in breadth from the Ganges to the Himalayas. 8 The capital 
of Videha, Mithila, was situated about thirty-five miles north-west 
from Vesali. B . 

It is stated in the Jatakas that the city of Mithila was seven 
leagues and the kingdom of Videha 300 leagues in extent. 10 It was 
the capital of the kings Janaka and Makhadeva, in the district 
now called Tirhut. 11 The city of Mithila in Jambudvipa had plenty 
of elephants, horses, chariots, oxen, sheep and all kinds of wealth 
of this nature, together with gold, silver, gems, pearls and other 
precious things. 12 From a Jataka description, we learn that the 

1 Makavamsa, P.T.S., Chap. II, p. 12. 

2 Visnu Purana, Pt. Ill, Chap. XVIII, p. 217. (Varsgavasi Ed.) 

3 Carmichael Lectures, 191S, pp. $8, 59- Udayana is addressed as Vaidehiputra 
(S.V., Act 6, p. 68, Ganapati Sastri's Ed.). 

* Rockhill, Life of the Buddha , pp. 63-4. 

5 Jaina Sutras, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, Pt. I, p. 256. s ibid., p. 264. 

* Arthaidstra, trsi. Shama Sastii, p. 455. See also Liccliavi chapter. 
s Bfhat Vifnupurdna. 

9 Rhvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. afi. 

10 Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. Ill, p. 365: Tiyojanasatike. 

11 Rhvs Davids, Buddhist India, p. 37. 

's Beal, Romantic Legend of Sdkya Buddha, p. 30. 


kingdom of Videha had 16,000 villages, storehouses filled, and 16,000 
dancing girls. 1 Magnificent royal carriages could be seen, drawn 
by four horses; and the Videhan king was driven in state around 
his capital. 8 

In the Si-Yu-Ki (Buddhist Records of the Western World) we 
find that the Chinese traveller Hsiian Tsang, describing the kingdom 
of Fo-li-shi (Vrji), says that the capital of the country was Chen- 
shu-na. Beal "quotes V. de St. Martin who connects the name 
Chen-shu-na with Janaka and Janakapura (= Mithila.). 3 

From very early times, Videha was frequented by merchants. 
At the time of Buddha Gautama we find people coming from SravastI 
to Videha to sell their wares.* 

The Videhas were a charitable people. Many institutions of 
charity were in existence in their country, and we are told that six 
hundred thousand pieces were spent daily in alms-giving. 5 

The Jataka stories often make extravagant demands upon 
popular credence, as when they relate how the average length of 
human life at the time of the Buddha Gautama was thirty thousand 
years. More fortunate than the average mortal, King Makhadeva 
of Mithila had a lease of life of eighty-four thousand years, 6 in the 
earlier portion of which he amused himself as a royal prince. Later 
on, he was appointed a Viceroy, and last of all became king. We 
come to a more sober estimate when we find it related that there 
lived in Mithila a Brahman named Brahmayu, aged one hundred and 
twenty years, who was well versed in the Vedas, Itihasas, Vyakarana, 
Lokayata, and was endowed with all the marks of a great man. 7 

Polygamy appears to have been in vogue among the kings of 
Videha. Brahmadatta, king of Benares, had a daughter named 
Sumedha whom he declined to give in marriage to a Videhan prince 
who had a large number of wives, fearing that her co-wives woidd 
make her life miserable. 8 

Many writers bear testimony to the devotion and faithfulness 
of Videhan princesses. The story of Sita. is too well-known to be 
repeated. Again, it is stated in the Amitdyurdhyana Sutra that 
when Ajatasatru arrested his father Bimbisara at the instigation of 

1 Jataka {Fausboli), Vol. Ill, p. 365. 2 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 3$- 

a Beal, Records of the Western World, Vol. II, p. 78, n. The actual words are: 
' . . . Janaka and Janakapura, capital of Mithiia'; but, as we have seen, Mithila is 
identified with Janakapura. 

* See, e.g. Dhammapala's Paramatthadipanl on the Theragathd, Pt. Ill, pp. 277-8. 

s Jataka (Fausboli), Vol. IV, p. 355. See also Makhadeva Jataka. 

6 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 139. 

7 Majjhima Nikdya, Vol. II, pp. ^3-4. 

8 Jataka (Fausboli), Vol. IV, pp. 314 foil. 


Btevadatta, and confined him in a room with seven walls, declaring 
that none must approach him, Vaidehi (i.e. Videhan princess), the 
queen-mother, kept him alive (until she was discovered), by con- 
cealing food and drink for him. 1 

We read in one of the Jatakas that the people of Vldeha once 
reproached their king for his childlessness. • 

The kings of Mithila were men of high culture. We have already 
referred to Janaka, the great Rajarsi of the Brahmamc period. In 
the Buddhist age, we find Sumitra, king of Mithila, devoted to the 
practice and study of the 'true law'." King Vldeha of Mithila had 
four sages to instruct him in law «; and we read s that the son of 
this King Videha was educated at Taxila, the usual seat of learning 
for voung men of noble birth. B 

"Stories regarding the religious tendencies of the royal family 
of Videha are frequently found in ancient literature— see, e.g. 
the stow of King Ximi and the hawk, JStaka, III, p. 23"- Another 
Jataka story relates that Videha, king of Videha, and the Bod iisattva 
then king of Gandhara, were on friendly terms although they had 
never met. Once, on the fast day of the full-moon, the fang of 
Gandhara took a vow to keep the five moral precepts and delivered 
before his ministers a discourse on the substance of the law. At 
that moment the demon Ratal was overshadowing the full-moon s 
orb so that the moon's light was dimmed by an eclipse. The king 
observing the phenomenon thought that all trouble came from 
outside; he considered his royal retinue was nothing but a trouble^ 
and that it was not proper that he should lose his light like the moon 
seized by Rahu. He thereupon made over his kingdom to his 
minister? took to a religious life, and having attained transcen- 
dental powers, spent the rainy season m the Himalayan regions, 
devoting himself to the delights of meditation. 

When the king of Videha heard of the religious life of the king of 
Gandiara he abdicated his throne went to the Himalayan .region 
and became a hermit. The two ex-kings lived together '"peace and 
friendliness without knowing each other's > antecede "^ Jhejiscetrc 
of Videha waited upon the ascetic of Gandhara. One da, , the, 
witneied an eclipse of the moon, and th is was the indirect cause of 
their recognising each other as formerfeUowklngs^ 

i S.B.E., Vol. XLIX, pp. r6i-20i. 
' UMJa (Fausboll), V, pp. 279-80. 
' Bal, Motwntic Legend tf Say, BuJJfa.v-y- , nji Vol n p 3 , 

: ffS^SSf^**" 3 « - -/ '— <« " •"' mi <■<""-""'■ jkSB - 

Vol. XII, 1916. , , 

» JStaka (Fausboll), Vol. Ill, PP- 365-6. 


We have already referred to the long life of King Makhadeva of 
Mithila. One day this king, on his barber showing him a grey 
hair from his head, thought that his days were numbered. Handing 
over his kingdom to his sou, the old king became a recluse, and 
developed very high spiritual powers. 1 

Sadhina, a righteous king in Mithila, kept the five silas and 
observed the fast-day vows. His virtue was praised by the princes 
of heaven who sat in the' Justice Hall' of Sakra, and all the gods 
desired to see him. Accordingly, Sakra ordered Matali to bring 
Sadhina to heaven in his own chariot. Matali went to the kingdom 
of Videha on the day of the full-moon, driving his celestial chariot 
side by side with the moon's disc. All the people shouted, ' See, two 
moons are in the sky'. Then, when the chariot came nearer, they 
saw what it was, and concluded that it had come for their virtuous 
king. Matali went to the king's door and made a sign that he 
should ascend the chariot. After arranging for the distribution of 
alms, the king went with Matali. One-half of the city of gods and 
twenty-five millions of nymphs, and a half of the palace of Vaijayanta 
were given to Sadhina by Sakra; and the king lived there in happiness 
for seven hundred years. But when his merits were exhausted, 
dissatisfaction arose in him, and he did not wish to remain in heaven 
any longer. The king was carried back to Mithila, where he dis- 
tributed alms for seven days. On the seventh day he died, and was 
reborn in the heaven of the thirty-three (gods). 2 

Sakra is concerned in another legendary story about the Videhan 
royal family. Suruci, king of Mithila, had a wife named Sumedha 
who was childless. Sumedha prayed for a son. She took the 
eightfold sabbath vows {atthasllant) , and sat meditating upon the 
virtues; and Sakra appeared to her and granted her boon. 8 

1 Jataka (Fausboll), I, pp. 137-8. In the Makhadera Sntta {Majjhiyiw Nikaya, 
Vol. II, pp. 74-83) we iliul the same story \<.ith slight variations. Nimi, a later king, 
was like Makhadeva. Indra with other gods came to him and praised him. When 
Nimi reached the Assembly Hall of the gods, he was received cordially by Indra, 
and sent back to his kingdom in a celestial chariot. 

* Jataka (Fausboll'l, Vol. IV, pp. 355-6. 

" Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 315 foil. 


The Jnatrkas (also known as the Natha or Naya clan) gave 
India one of 'its greatest religious reformers, Mahavira, the last 
Tirthankara of the Jains, and this is their sole claim to fame among 
ancient Indian tribes. 

The Jnatrkas, or Ksatriyas of the Jhatri (or Naya) clan, used to 
dwell in Vaisall (Basarh), Kundagrama and its suburb Kollaga, and 
Vanijyagrama. 1 The Cambridge History of India 2 states that 
Kundagrama was a suburb just outside Vaisall, probably surviving in 
the 'modern village of Basukund. Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson (Heart of 
Jaimsm, pp. 21-2) says that some 2,000 years ago, in Basarh, the 
same divisions existed as would be found today, and there, in fact, 
the priestly (Brahmana), warrior (Ksatriya) and commercial (Vaniya 
or Vanijya) communities lived so separately that their quarters were 
sometimes spoken of as though they had been distinct villages, as 
Vaisall, Kundagrama and Vanijyagrama. Strangely enough, she 
adds, it was not in their own but in the Ksatriya ward that Mahavira 
was to be the great hero of the commercial class. We are not pre- 
pared to accept Mrs. Stevenson's statement that Vaisall was exclu- 
sively a Brahmin settlement, in the absence of positive evidence. 

The Jain writers give an idealised picture of the Jnatrkas, 
telling us that they were afraid of sin, abstained from wicked deeds, 
did no mischief to anv being, and therefore did not partake of meat. 3 
Dr. Hoernle says 4 : ' Outside their settlement at Kollaga, the Jnatrkas 
possessed a religious establishment (or Cheiya) which bore the name 
Duipalasa. Like most Cheiyas, 6 it consisted of a park enclosing 
a shrine, hence in the Vipdka Sutra it is called the Duipalasa Park 
(Ujjana) '. The Naya clan seems to have supported a body of monks 
who followed Parsvanatha, an ascetic, who lived some 250 years 
before Mahavira. 8 It is stated in the Uvasagadasao that Mahavira 's 
parents (and with them probably the whole clan of Naya Ksatriyas) 
are said to have been followers of the tenets of Parsvanatha. When 
Mahavira, who was taken to be the successor of Parsvanatha, 
appeared, the members of his clan became his devoted followers. 

1 Uvasagadasao (Hoerale), Vol. II, p. 4, f.n. 2 Vol. I, p. 157. 

» Jaina Sutras, Pt. II, S.B.E., Vol. XLV, p. 416. 

4 Uvasagadasao, Vol. II, pp. 4 and 5, f.n. 5 = Skt. Chattya, shrine. 

Mrs. Stevenson, Heart of Jainism, p. 31. 


Dr. Hoernle says that Vaisall, one of the settlements of the 
Jfiatrkas, was an oligarchic republic, the government of which 
was 'vested in a senate composed of the heads of the resident 
Ksatriya clans and presided over by an officer who had the title 
of king and was assisted by a Viceroy and a Commander-in-chief'. 1 
Mrs. S. Stevenson says that the government of Vaisall seems to have 
resembled that of a Greek State. 2 

In the early sixth century B.C., the chief of the Ksatriya Natha 
clan was Siddhartha who married Trisala, sister of Cetaka, the most 
eminent among the Licchavi princes. Siddhartha and Trisala were 
the parents of Mahavira, who lived from approximately 57°~.5 00 B.C. 
(See B. C. Law, Mahdmra: His Life and Teachings, p. 53). Of 
Siddhartha Dr. Hoernle says: 'Though, as may be expected, the 
Sacred Books of the Jains speak of him in exaggerated terms, they 
do not, I believe, ever designate him as "the king of Kundapura or 
Kundagama"; on the contrary, he is, as a rule, only called the 
Khattiya Siddhattha (Siddhatthe Khattiye) and only exceptionally 
he is referred to simply as King Siddhattha. This is perfectly 
consistent with his position as the chief of the Kshatriyas of Kollaga. 
Accordingly, Mahavira himself was born in Kollaga and naturally 
when he assumed the monk's vocation, he retired to the Cheiya of 
his own clan, called Duipalasa and situated in the neighbourhood 
of his native place, Kollaga.' 3 Mahavira, on renouncing the world, 
probably first joined Parsva's sect of which, however, he soon became 
a reformer and chief himself.* 

A detailed sketch of the life and work of Mahavira would fill 
a volume and is beyond the scope of the present treatise. 5 We may, 
however, mention the fact that it was Mahavira who brought the 
Jfiatrkas into intimate touch with the neighbouring communities 
of eastern India and developed a religion which is still professed by 
millions of Indians. Another celebrity of the Jhatrka clan was 
Ananda, a staunch follower of Mahavira. The story of Ananda 
and his wife Sivananda is related in the V 

1 Uvdsagadasao, Ed. Hoernle, Vol. II, p. 6. 
s Heart of Jainism, p. 22. 

8 Uvasagadasao, Vol. II, pp. 5-6. ■ 4 Ibid., p. 6. 

* For an account of Mahavira, sec B. C. Law: Mahavira: His Life and 

6 Vol. II, tr. : pp. 7-9. 


The Sakyas have acquired great importance in Indian history 
owing to the Buddha having been born among them. Before the 
birth of the founder of Buddhism, the Sakyas were comparatively 
little known; yet in the rugged fastnesses of the lower Himalayas, 
they had already built up a remarkable though not a very powerful 

The traditional story of the Buddha's birth starts with a dis- 
cussion among the Devaputras in the Tusita heaven, as to which of 
the great roval families of India the Bodhisattva should honour with 
his birth. In this discussion, the Sakyas were not mentioned. The 
Devaputras pondered over the merits of the sixteen Mahajanapadas 
of Jambudvipa (India), and analysed the claims of all the important 
royal families of the day, but found them all stained with one 
black spot or another. Being at a loss to find a people worthy of 
claiming him as their congener, the Devaputras at length had re- 
course to the Bodhisattva himself, and when finally the Sakyas 
were chosen as the recipient of that great honour, it was rather on 
account of their moral qualities. 1 

The Sakyas of Kapilavastu claimed to be Ksatnyas. As soon 
as they heard' the news of the Buddha's passing away, they demanded 
a portion of his relics, saying, ' Bkagava amhakafn nati-seplht) ' 
('the Blessed One was the chief (or best) of our kinsmen ). While 
all the other Ksatriya clans that claimed a portion of the Buddha s 
ashes did so on the grounds of their belonging to the same caste 
(Bkagava pi KhaUiyo, mayampi Khattiyd), m the case of the 
Sakyas the claim was founded upon a closer relationship, that of 

The origin of the Sakyas is traced Tiack to Kmg Okkaka, l c. 
Iksvaku It is stated in the Sumangiilavitasin! ' that King Okkaka 
had five queens. Bv the chief queen, he had four sons and five 
daughters After the death of the chief queen, he marned another 
lady who extorted from him the promise to place her sou upon 
the throne The king thereupon requested his other sons to leave 
the kingdom. The princes, accompanied by their sisters, accordingly 

1 Lalitavitfara, Ed. Lefmann. pp. 26-7. 
a Digha mkaya (P.T.S.), Vol. n, p. 165. 
^ Sumangalavilasmi. Pt. I, pp. 258-60. 


left the kingdom, and going to a forest near the Himalayas they 
began to search for a site to bnild a city. In the course of their 
search they met the sage Kapila who said that they should build 
a town in the place where he lived. The princes duly built the 
town, and named it Kapilavatthu (Kapilavastu). In course of 
time, the four brothers married four of the sisters (excepting the 
eldest one), and the family came to be known as the Sakyas. 

This story is evidently fanciful. Sister-marriage was not m 
vogue in ancient India even in the earliest times of which we have 
any record, as the story of Varna and Yarn! in the Rgveda amply 
demonstrates. The descent from King Okkaka, however, may be 
based on fact. The Mahavamsa too traces the origin of the Sakyas 
to Okkaka, and gives their genealogy in great detail, going back to 
Mahasammata of the same dynasty. 1 

There can be no doubt that King Okkaka m this genealogy is 
no other than Iksvaku of the so-called solar dynasty of the Puranas. 
Comparing the names with those in the Pauranic list, we find that 
the lists do not agree in every detail, but there is agreement with 
regard to some of the more prominent names. -Thus, for example, 
in the long history of the solar dynasty given in the Visnufurana, 
Pt IV we find many of the names in the Mahavamsa list, like Man- 
dhata '(Mandhata), Sagara (Sagara), etc. The Visnupurana states 
that King Brhadvala (Brhadbala) of this dynasty was killed in 
the Kuruksetra war, 2 and next proceeds to trace the descent of King 
Sakva from the Brhadvala. 3 

"The source of the accounts given in the Mahavamsa and the 
Sumangalavilasini is not, however, the Puranas, hut such ancient 
Buddhistical works as the Mahavastu. This latter work gives a 
detailed account of the foundation of Kapilavastu and the settlement 
of the Sakyas there. The story of the sister-marriage is given there, 
and, as in the Mahavamsa, the Sakya family is traced back to Maha- 
sammata. The names of the kings that succeeded him agree in 
the two accounts, for the most part. The following story 4 is told 
of Sujata, king of the Sakyas, who reigned in the city of Saketa. 
The king had five sons and five daughters, and also another son by 
a concubine, Jenti. Being pleased with Jenti, he promised her a 
boon. She demanded that her son, Jenta, should be recognised as 
heir-apparent ; and the king, thought loath to consent, could not 
break his word. The five princes, his legitimate sons, went into 

* For the complete g&teafclg? of the Sakyas, according to Sinhalese tradition, 
see Mahavamsa, Chap. II, verses 1-24. 

2 Vi$nttpurana, Pt- IV, Chap. IV, verse 48. 

3 Wilson, VismipitrJna, Vol. IV, Chap. XXII, pp. T67-72. 

4 Obviously corresponding to the story of King OkfcaJka. 


exile, followed by many thousands of citizens. They were received 
by the king of Kail-Kosala, and the people of Kasi-Kosala were 
delighted with the bearing of the princes. The king, however, 
became envious and drove the princes out of his kingdom. At 
the foot of the Himalayas there lived a wise sage called Kapila. 
His hermitage was vast and charming, with fruits and flowers, 
adorned with a good many plants and with a dense forest. The 
princes went to the dense forest and lived there. Traders used to 
pass through there on their way to Kasi and Kosala. When asked 
whence they came, these traders replied that they had come from 
a certain part of the forest called Sakotavana. 

The people of Saketa as well as the traders of Kosala visited 
the Sakotavana. The princes took their brides from among their 
sisters by the same mother, because they did not wish their race to 
be contaminated by a mixture of blood. Hearing of this, King 
Sujata asked his purohitas and learned Brahmins whether such a 
custom was permissible, and they replied in the affirmative. 

Meanwhile the princes decided to build a town. They went to 
the sage Kapha and said that they desired to build a city and name 
it after him. The princes built a city, making the sage's hermitage 
a royal residence. As the hermitage was given by Kapila the sage, 
the city became known bv the name of Kapilavastu. Kapilavastu 
was prosperous, wealthy and peaceful; there alms were easily 
obtainable, and the people were fond of trade and commerce, sociable, 
and fond of taking part in festivities. 

The names of the five princes were Opura, Nipura, Karandaka, 
Ulkamukha and Hastikasirsa. Opura was the eldest, and he was 
elected king of Kapilavastu. 1 . 

The story given in the Mahavastu and the Sumangalavilasinl 
about the origin of the Sakyas by sister-marriage is referred to in 
the introduction to the Kunala Jataka. Here the story of the 
origin of the Sakyas exactly tallies with that in the Mahavastu, but 
there is some difference in the story of the Koliyas. While the 
Mahavastu says that they resided in a cave of a hill, the Jataka 
story relates that they received tbe name Koliya because of having 
resided in the hollow of a Koli or jujube tree. 

In the Mahavastu the Salivas are called adityabandhus or 
'kinsmen of the sun'. This refers to their descent from the Solar 

1 Mahavastu, Ed. Senart, Vol. I, pp. 34^-52. It will be observed that Opura, 
Nipura Karandaka, TTlkamukha and Hastikasirsa are represented 111 a former 
passage of the 'Mahavastu as sons of King Sujata. Here, however, the relationship 
between each prince and the one next mentioned is represented as that of father 


dynasty to which the Iksvakus belonged. 1 The Mahavastu also 
speaks of King Suddhodana, father of the Buddha, as born in the 
Iksvaku family. 2 Another passage in the same work speaks of the 
Buddha as a Ksatriya of the Adityagotra and of the Iksvakukula, 
i.e. born in the family of the Iksvakus who derived their descent 
from the sun. 3 The Lalitavistara (p. 112) also speaks of the Buddha 
as born in the royal family of Iksvaku. 

The Sakyas were Ksatriyas of the Gotama gotra, as is seen from 
the fact that the Buddha had the surname Gotama, while the 
Licchavis and Mallas who also belonged to the same race, bore the 
gotra name of Vasistha. The gotra of a Ksatriya family was derived 
from the gotra name of the purohita or family priest ; so evidently 
the Sakyas had adopted the Gotamas as their priests at an early 
date. The Gotama gotra is described in the Pah books * as occupying 
a very high position among the gotras, no doubt from its association 
with the founder of Buddhism. 

Kapilavastu, the 6akya capital, is sometimes called Kapila- 
vastu. The Lalitavistara calls it Kapilavastu, and sometimes 
Kapilapura (p. 243) or Kapilahvayapura (p. 28, etc.) ; and these 
names are also found in the Mahavastu. 5 Tiie Divyavaddna also 
connects Kapilavastu with the sage Kapila. 8 In the Buddhacarita, 
the city is described as Kapjlasya-vastu. 7 

Kapilavastu is said to have been surrounded by seven walls." 
A clue to the identification of the city is furnished by the discovery 
of the famous Rummindei Pillar which marks the site of the ancient 
Lumbini garden, the traditional scene of Sakyamuni's birth. Smith 
is inclined to identify the Sakya capita!, which lay not far from the 
Lumbinigrama, with Piprawa in the north of the Basti district 
on the Nepalese frontier. 

The Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hien, who visited India early in the 
fifth century A.D., says that the neighbourhood of Kapilavastu was 
infested by white elephants and lions, against which the people had 
to be on their guard. B The country was thinly populated. He 
noticed towers at Kapilavastu, set up at various places, viz. where 
prince Siddhartha left the city by the eastern gate, where his chariot 
was made to turn back to the palace, where his horoscope was cast 

1 Mahavastu, II, p. 303. 

8 Ibid., Ill, p. 247. " 3 jud.. Ill, p. 246. 

4 E.g. Sutia-.-ihhung-.i . Pudttiya, II, 2 ; V-hiayu Pitaka, Okie n berg, Vol. IV, p. 6. 

5 Vol. II, p. 11, line 3. 

* Divyavaddna, p. 548, lines 20-2. Kapilavastu, ibid., pp. 90, 390; Kapilavastu, 
ibid., p. 67. 

7 Buddhacarita, Book I, verse 2. s Mahavastu, Vol. II, p. 75. 

9 Travels of Fa-Hien and Smig-Yim, by S. Real, pp. 88-98. 

by the sage Asita, where the elephant was struck by Nanda 
and others, where the arrow going thirty li in a south-easterly 
direction penetrated into the earth and produced a fountain of 
water which quenched the thirst of travellers in later generations, 
where Suddhodana was met by his son when the latter had acquired 
supreme wisdom, where five hundred Sakya converts honoured 
Upali, and where the children of the Sakyas were massacred by 
King Vidudabha. 1 

Hsiian Tsang, who visited India in the seventh century A.D., 
narrates that Kapilavastu, the country of the Sakyas, was about 
four thousand li in circuit. The royal precincts built of brick were 
within the city, measuring fourteen or fifteen h round. He 
says that long after the passing away of the Buddha, topes and 
shrines were built in or near Kapilavastu.' The villages were few 
and desolate. The monasteries (sangUramas) which were then in 
ruins were more than one thousand in number. There still existed a 
sanehdmma near the royal precincts which contained thirty (3,000 
according to one text) followers who read 'the little vehicle of the 
Sammativa school'. There were two deva-temples where different 
sectarians worshipped. There were some dilapidated f °" , 10n 
walls the remains of the principal palace of King Suddhodana, 
above which a vihara (monaster;.) was built containing a stupa 
of the king Near it, was a foundation in rums, representing the 
sleeping palace of Queen Mahamaya. Above it a vihara was 
built containing a figure of the queen. Close by stood a vihara 
on the spot where the Bodhisattva was supposed to have entered 
the womb of his mother. A stupa was built to the north-east of 
'the palace of spiritual conception' of the Bodhisattva « To the 
north-west of the capital, a stupa was built where King Vidudabha 
massacred the Sakyas.' The cultured land was rich and fertile and 
the climate of the country was bracing. 

According to Rhvs Davids, there were villages around the rice- 
fields and the cattle roamed about in the outlying forest. The 
jungles, which were occasionally resorted to by robbers, divided one 
village from another." . ., 

Mention is made of several other Sakya towns besides Kapila- 
vastu, viz. Chatuma, Samagama, Ulumpa, Devadaha, Sakkara, 

Travels of Fa-Mien, bv Eeal. pp. S5-7. 
'. Real, Records of the Western World, Vol. II, pp. I3- J 4- 
» Watters, On Yuan Chiang, Vol. II, p. 4- 
■- Heal Records of Ike Western World, Vol. II, pp. i4- r 5- 
1 Ibid'., Vol. II, p. 12. 
' Buddhist India, pp. 20-21. 



Silavati, and Khomadussa. 1 The latter was so called on account of 
its abundant produce of linen cloth. 2 

It is stated in the Jataka that the Sakyas were a haughty 
people, and did not do obeisance to Siddhartha on the ground that 
he was younger in age, but were afterwards made to do so on seeing 
a miracle performed by him. 3 Hsiian Tsang, however, says that 
the manners of the people were 'soft and obliging', 4 while in Rock- 
hill's Life of the Buddha it is said that they did not kill any living 
thing, 'not even a black beetle'. 6 The produce of their cattle and 
rice-fields supplied their only means of livelihood. The villages 
were grouped around the rice-fields, and the cattle wandered through 
the outlying forest over which the peasantry had rights of common. 8 

The Tibetan Buddhist Books as translated by Rockhill 7 relate 
that the Sakya law allowed a man one wife only. This law is rather 
remarkable inasmuch as polygamy was in vogue in India from the 
Vedic age downwards, — especially among the Ksatriyas who were 
rich and powerful. We may, however, account for the existence 
of this law among the Sakyas on the ground of their special consti- 
tution and position. They were a small tribe, and very proud of 
their birth. They would not give one of their girls in marriage 
even to such a powerful prince as Pasenadi of Kosala. Among 
such a people, marriage was generally confined within the tribe 
itself, and the number of marriageable girls being limited, many 
adult males would have to go witliout a wife if polygamy prevailed. 
Hence the law had grown up among them limiting the number of 
wives to one. But that the Sakyas had no objection to polygamy 
as such on religious or other grounds, is clear from the fact narrated 
by the same Tibetan works that the rigorous provision of the law 
was relaxed in the case of Suddhodana, the father of the Buddha; 
in consideration of a great public service rendered by hitn when, as a 
young prince, in subduing the hillmen of the Pandava tribe, he was I 
allowed by the Sakyas to have two wives. 

The Lalitavistara seems to suggest that Suddhodana had a 
crowded harem, when it says that Mayadevi was his chief queen, 
being at the head of a thousand ladies. 8 But this appears to be a 
mere poetic exaggeration, for the Pah books speak of only two 

1 Cambridge' Historv of India, Vol, I, p. 175. 

2 The Booh of the Kindred Sayings, Pt. I, p. 233. 
a Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. VI, pp. 479 foil. 

* Beal, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 14. 
5 Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 117. 

8 Rhys Davids. Buddhist India, p. 20. 7 Life of the Buddha, p. 15- 

8 ' Sitddhodanassci pram-add pvadhdnd tnMsahasresu hi sdgraprapta'. Laliia- 
vistara, p. 28. 


wives of the king. Prince Siddhartha had only one wife according 
to all accounts, and, according to the Lalitavistam, even the hand of 
this girl was not granted to him, although he was a prince, until he 
could satisfy the proud Sakya father of his knowledge of the silpas 
or arts, by an open exhibition of skill in warfare as well as the finer 
arts. 1 Siddhartha's wife is named Yasodhara in the Mahavastu, 
and her father is called Mahanama. 3 

How proud and aristocratic the Sakyas were when asked to 
give away their daughters in marriage to any one outside their clan 
will appe'ar from the following story of King Pasenadi of Kosala, 
who desired to have a 6akva girl as his consort. The king considered 
that if he married a Sakya girl, the Brethren (i.e. Bhikkhus) would 
be his friends, as he would then be related to them by marriage. 
So, rising from his seat, he returned to the palace, and sent a message 
to Kapilavatthu to this effect : ' Please give me one of your daughters 
in marriage, for I wish to become connected with your family'. 
On receipt of this message the Sakyas gathered together and deli- 
berated: 'We live in a place subject to the authority of the king of 
Kosala; if we refuse to give him one of our daughters, he will be 
very angry; and if we give her, the custom of our clan' will be broken. 
What are we to do?' Then Mahanama said to them, 'I have a 
daughter named Vasabhakhattiya. Her mother is a slave woman 
named Nagamunda; the girl is sixteen years old, of great beauty 
and auspicious prospects, and noble on, her father's side. Let us 
send her, as a girl nobly born. ' The Sakyas agreed, and, sending 
for the king's messengers, said that they were willing to give a 
daughter of the clan, and that they might take her with them at 
once. But the messengers reflected: 'These Sakyas are desperately 
proud in matters of birth. Suppose they should send a girl who is 
not one of them, and say that she is so. We will take none but one 
who eats along with them. ' However, by a ruse, Mahanama avoided 
eating more than one mouthful with his daughter, and Pasenadi's 
messengers did not discover the secret. 

'So Mahanama sent away Iris daughter m great pomp. The 
messengers brought her to SravastI, and said that this maiden was 
the true-horn daughter of Mahanama. The king was pleased, and 
caused the whole city to be decorated, and placed her upon a pile of 
treasure, and by a ceremonial sprinkling made her his chief queen. 
She was dear to the king, and beloved. ' 3 •_ 

The Tibetan books have preserved a story of Pasenadi. Once 
Pasenadi, king of Kosala, carried away by his horse, reached Kapila- 

■ Lalitavistara, pp. 243^ ) and see Mahavastu, II, 73. 2 Mahavastu, II, . 

' Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. IV, pp. r46 foil. 


vastu alone, and roaming about hither and thither, came to the 
garden of Mahanaman. Here he saw the beautiful Mallika, who 
was well versed in the Sastras, and asked her whose garden it was, 
and was told that it belonged to the Sakya Mahanaman. The king 
dismounted, and asked for water for washing and drinking. Mallika 
brought water for him, and then she was desired by the king to rub 
his feet, which she willingly did. Hardly had she touched his feet 
than he fell asleep. Mallika thought that the king might have 
enemies, and did not open the gate when instructed to do so by a 
multitude of people. The king awoke and asked her what the 
matter was, and she told him what she had done. Her shrewdness 
and wisdom were admired by the king. Coming to know that she 
was a slave girl of Mahanaman, he went to her master and expressed 
his desire to marry her. The master agreed, and the king took her 
with him in great pomp to Sravastt. The king's mother was highly 
displeased that her son had married a slave girl, but when Mallika 
went to pay respects to her and touched her feet, she immediately 
fell asleep. When she awoke, she thought that such a touch could 
not but be that of a maiden of noble birth, worthy of the family of 
Kosala. Shortly afterwards a son was born to Mallika, and was 
called Virudhaka or the high-born. 1 It is evident that this story 
is a Tibetan version of the story of Pasenadi and Vasabhakhattiya. 

We learn, then, that the S&kyas contracted marriages within 
their own tribe, and even their ruling house did not enter into matri- 
monial relations with any of the numerous princely houses in N. 
India— unlike the royal houses of Kosala, Magadlia and Videha, 
for example. When the marriage of Prince Siddhartha was decided 
upon at the council of five hundred Sakya elders, these proceeded 
to select a bride for him from among themselves. This clannish 
custom among the Sakyas perhaps gave rise to the idea that they 
married their sisters. 2 

In Hsiian Tsang's times, when a Sakya child was born, it was 
carried to the temple of Isvaradeva to be presented to the god. _ The 
temple contained a stone image of the god in the posture of rising 
and bowing. 3 

The women appear to have enjoyed a greater amount of inde- 
pendence and freedom of thought among the Sakyas than among 
the people of the plains, perhaps owing to the scarcity of women. 
Thus, according to all Buddhist accounts, the Sakya ladies were the 

1 Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, pp. 75-7. According to Pali canonical literature, 
Virudhaka was the son of Pasenadi by another wife named Vasabhakhattiya, who 
was given in marriage to Pasenadi by the Sakyas. 

2 Vide ante. 

3 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, P- 13- 

THE sakyas 2-5,3 

first to cut themselves off from the world, and to institute the order 
of nuns, the foster-mother of the Buddha, Mahapajapati Gotami, 
taking the lead, 1 Some of the Sakya ladies who left the world and 
adopted the life of the female ascetic have left behind them poems 
and songs that are preserved in the Psalms of the Sisters [Theri- 
eatha). Among these ladies were Tissa, Abhirupananda and 
Mitta. Tissa was born at Kapilavastu among the Sakyas. She 
renounced the world with Mahapajapati Gotami, and attained 
Arahatship. 2 Abhirupananda was the daughter of Khemaka the 
Sakya She was called Nanda the Pair for her great beauty and 
amiability. Her beloved kinsman, Carabhuta, died on the day on 
which she was to choose him from amongst her suitors. She had to 
leave the world against her will, and though she entered the Order, 
she could not forget that she was beautiful. Fearing that the Buddha 
would rebuke her, she used to avoid his presence. At last, however, 
she was compelled to come to him for instruction, and by his super- 
natural power the Buddha conjured up a beautiful woman who 
became transformed into an old and fading figure. This had the 
desired effect and Nanda became an Arahat. 1 Mitta, born in the 
royal family of the Sakvas at Kapilavastu, left the world with Maha- 
pa'japati Gotami, and like the other two, soon attained Arahantshrp.* 

There was a technical college of the Sakyas m the mango-grove. 
' It was a long terraced mansion made for the learning of crafts. ' « I he 
learning of one or other of the arts was incumbent upon every Sakya 
youth for as we have seen, no father would give his daughter m 
marriage to an idler or ignoramus. There was also a school for 
archery at Kapilavastu, where the Sakyas were trained.* The 
Sakvas being a Ksatriva tribe devoted to warlike pursuits, and sur- 
rounded on all sides by warlike tribes, the school of archery was 
necessarily a nourishing institution. The Lahtavtstam describes 
in details the various sciences and arts, beginning with the arts of 
writing that the young Siddhartha had to learn. But the whole 
description is that" of an ideal school which the poet imagined, no 
doubt basing the account on the condition of education in India at 
the time in which he wrote. There is nothing in the description 
that might be called particularly Sakya. 

The minds of the Sakva roval princes and nobles were so en- 
lightened by the Buddha that they were able to realise 'the perfect 

i Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., Vol. XX, K. Ill, pp. 320-6, 1. 2, 3. 4. B« I 
and paragraphs 5 and 6. 

2 Psalms of the Sisters, pp. i2-r3. 

s Ibid. pp. 22-3, and see also ibid., pp. 55-7 (smidari ^anda). 

4 Ibid ' 2i . s Sitmangaiavtlasim, Vol. Ill, p. 905. 

8 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 13- 



fruit of righteousness'. 1 Nandupananda and Kundadana, two 
principal nobles, and other persons of the Sakya clan became re- 
cluses. 2 Upali, son of Atali, followed their example. Then the 
other princes and the sons of the chief minister renounced the world. 3 
At the request of the Buddha, many Sakyas became recluses, and 
were well provided for. 1 The life of the Sakya recluse was so attrac- 
tive that Sumangala (reborn in a poor family) became a recluse. 
The recluses were respected for their simplicity of life. 6 There was 
a residence at Kapilavastu provided by the community for recluses 
of all schools. 8 

The administrative and judicial business of the Sakya clan was 
carried out in their santhdgdra or Council-Hall at Kapilavastu. 7 A 
young Brahmin named Ambattha who went to Kapilavastu on busi- 
ness had the opportunity of visiting the santhdgdra of the Sakyas, 
where he saw the young and the old seated on grand seats. 8 The 
' samsthdgdra' is spoken of in the Mahdvastu and the Lalitavistara, 
and we are told there that 500 Sakyas usually took their seats in the 
Hall. The Mahdvastu describes how thirty-two princes, the sons . 
of a Sakya girl and Raja Kola of Benares, came to settle in Kapila- 
vastu, and presented themselves before the Sakya council [Sakya- 
farisad), where 500 Sakya leaders sat together to transact some 
important business. A new Council-Hall of the Sakyas was raised 
at Kapilavastu when the Buddha was dwelling at the Nigrodharama 
in the Mahavana which was close to it. At their request, the Buddha 
inaugurated the hall, and a series of ethical discourses lasting the 
whole of the night were delivered by him, Atianda and Moggallana. 9 

The Lalitavistara also gives 500 as the number of the members 
of the Sakya Council. 10 The Parisad of the Licchavis appears to 
have been larger, but the system of administration seems to have been 
very much the same, though there was this difference, that while 
at Vaisali everyone called himself a raja, at Kapilavastu there was 
one distinct headman called the raja who was elected by the people. 
According to Rhys Davids, he had to preside over the sessions and 
when no sessions were held, he had to conduct the business of the 
State. But we hear that once Bhaddiya, a young cousin of the 
Buddha, took the title of raja; and in one passage, Suddliodana is 
styled a raja, although he is elsewhere spoken of as a simple citizen." 

* S.B.E., Vol. XIX, p. 226. 

2 Ibid., pp. 226-7. 3 /6a - P- 22 7- 

* Ibid., pp. 226-7 ; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 8r. 
5 Psalms of the Brethren, p. 47. 

8 Buddhist India, p. 20. 7 Ibid., p. rg. 

8 Dtgha, I, -p. 91. ' Vccesu asanesu nisinna' '. ° Buddhist India, p. 20. 

10 Lalitavistara, Ed. Ivefmann, pp. 136-7. " Buddhist India, p. I9> 


In Prof. Rhys Davids' opinion, no doubt all the more important 
places had a 'Mote-Hall' or 'pavilion covered with a roof but with 
no walls in which to conduct their business'. The local affairs of 
the villages were conducted in open assembly consisting of the 
householders, 'hold in the groves which, then as now, formed so 
distinctive a feature of each village in the long and level alluvial 
plain'. 1 In the time of the Chinese travellers, Fa-Hien, Sung-Yun 
and Hsiian Tsang, there was no central government at Kapilavastu. 
There existed a congregation of priests and about ten families of 
laymen. 2 Each town appointed its own ruler and there was no 
supreme ruler. 8 

D. R. Bhandarkar says that kula or clan sovereignty was 
prominent among the Sakyas. Kula, which was more extensive 
than the family, was the lowest political unit amongst the political 
sanghas. To quote his words, kula ' denotes not simply the domina- 
tion of a chief over his clan, but also and principally his supremacy 
over the territory occupied by that clan '.* 

It appears from the Mahavastu 5 that Koliya and Licchavi 
young men also showed their prowess at the tournament held to 
test the knowledge of Prince Siddhartha before his marriage. _ It 
seems 'that the Koliyas and Licchavis were on terms of close relation- 
ship with the Sakyas. The Koliyas were of kindred origin, and the 
Licchavis, from their living in the country to the south-east of the 
Sakya territory, most probably often became intimate with the 

The Kosala country bordered on the region occupied by the 
Sakyas, and there were mutual jealousies between the two peoples 
that often developed into war. Thus we are told that the Sakyas 
became the vassals of King Pasenadi of Kosala who received 
homage from them. At first Pasenadi was scornful of and dis- 
respectful towards the Buddha, but he later repented of his attitude, 
developed a great admiration for the Buddha, and paid his respects 
to him. 8 We have already seen how he desired to establish a connec- 
tion with the Buddha's family by marriage. 

When Vidudabha, the son of Pasenadi and Vasabhakhattiya, 
came of age, lie found out that ttie Sakyas had deceived his father, 
and he resolved to take revenge upon them. In order to do this, 
he decided to get possession of the throne for himself, and with the 
aid of his commander-in-chief, Dirgha Carayana or Digha Kargyana, 

1 Buddhist India, p. 20. 

2 Beal Trawls of Fa-Hum and Suuz-Yitn, pp. 85-7. 
a Beal Records of the Western World, Vol. II, p. 14. 

* Carmichael Lectures, 1918, pp. 162-4- " "<*■ ", p. 76. 

■ Majjhima Nikaya (P.T.S.), Vol. II, Pt. I, Pp. 118-24. 


he deposed his father who fled from Sravasti, the Kosala capital, 
and set out for Rajagrha, the capital of Magadha. But ' it was late 
when he came to the city, and the gates were shut and lying down 
in a shed, exhausted by exposure to wind and sun, he died there'. 1 
After ascending the throne, Vidudabha invaded the Sakya country, 
took their (capital) city and slew many of them without any distinc- 
tion of age or sex. He then took 500 Sakya girls for his harem, to 
celebrate his victory. Full of rage and hatred, the girls declared 
that they would never submit to the king. On hearing this, the 
king was enraged, and gave orders that they should be killed. 
According to the king's orders, the officers cut off their hands and 
feet and threw them into a ditch. The girls invoked the Buddha 
who saw their plight through his divine insight, and ordered a bhikkhu 
to go to them and preach his doctrine. Having heard the instruction, 
they attained 'purity of the eyes of law', died, and were all reborn 
in heaven. 2 Vidudabha himself is said to have perished by a sudden 
flood, along with numerous Kosalan followers. 

There is a different version of this account in the Vidudaka- 
vaddnam of the Avadanakalfialaia. 3 According to this, Vidudaka 
{ = Vidudabha) slaughtered seventy-seven thousand Sakyas and 
stole one thousand boys and girls. One day when he was eulogising 
his own prowess in his court, the stolen Sakya girls said, _' Wherefore 
this pride when death is inevitable to a man bound by action ? ' The 
king heard this, became angry, and ordered his men to cut off the 
hands of the girls. 

Rhys Davids says that the real motives which led Vidudaka 
to attack and conquer the Sakyas were most probably similar to 
the political motives which led Ajatasatru to attack and conquer 
the Licchavis of Vaisali. Vidudaka perhaps used the arrogance 
of the Sakyas as a pretext. 4 

It is stated in the Mahdvamsa Tika that during the lifetime 
of the Buddha some Sakyas, being oppressed by Vidudabha, fled 
to the Himalayas, where they built a beautiful city, which was 
known as Moriyanagara (Mauryanagara) , because the spot always 
resounded with the cries of peacocks. 5 The Buddhists hold that 
Asoka and the Buddha were of the same family, as the former was 
descended from Candragupta, who was a son of the queen of one of 
the kings of Moriyanagara. 6 

1 Jataka (Fausbdll), Vol. IV, p. 152. 

* Real, Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. II, pp. II-I2. 
3 nth Pallava (Bibl. Indica series). 

* Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, pp. 11-12; and see also Licchavi chapter. 
5 Mahavum&a fikd (Ce> lonese edition), pp. 119-21. 

* Beal, Records of the Western World, Vol. I, Intro., p. xvii. 


The Mallas were a powerful people of E- India at the time 
of Gautama Buddha, and are often mentioned in Buddhist and 
Jain a works. 

The country of the Mallas is spoken of in many passages of a 
Buddhist work as one of the sixteen ' great countries' {Mahajanu- 
padas). 1 It is also mentioned in the Sabhafiarvan of the Mahabharata, 
where we are told that the second Panda va, Bhimasena, during his 
expedition to E. India, conquered the chief of the Mallas, besides 
the country of Gopalakaksa and the northern Kosala territories. 2 
The Bhtsmaparvan mentions the Mallas along with such E. Indian 
peoples as the Ahgas, the Vangas and the Kalihgas. 3 

At the time of which we are speaking, the Mallas appear to 
have been divided into two confederacies, 'one with headquarters 
at Pava, and the other with headquarters at Kusmara', as we see 
from the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta. 4 - There is reason to believe 
that in the Buddha's time Kusmara was not a city of the first rank, 
like Rajagrha, Vaisali, or Sravasti. When the Lord expressed to 
Ananda his desire to die at Kusmara, Ananda said to him, 'Let not 
the Exalted One die in this little wattle-and-daub town, in this 

town in the midst of the jungle, in this branch township ' The 

fact that the Buddha hastened to Kusmara from Pava during his 
last illness indicates that the distance between the two towns was 
not great; but the description in the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta 
does not enable us to make any accurate estimate. Kusmara has 
been identified by Cunningham with the village of Kasia in the east 
of the Gorakhpur district, 11 and this view has recently been streng- 
thened by the fact that in the stupa behind the Nirvana temple, 
near this village, a copperplate has been discovered, bearing the 
inscription ' (parini)rvana-caitya-tamra-patta', or 'the copperplate 
of the parinirvana-caitya '. This identification appears to be correct, 
although V. A.' Smith would prefer to place Kusmara in Nepal, 
beyond the first range of hills. 8 Rhys Davids expresses the opinion 

1 Angultara h'ikaya, Vol. IV, p. 253. 

2 Vafigavasi Ed., Vol. I, p. 241 ; Sabhaparvan, Chap. XXX, si. 3. 
a Ibid., Bhismaparvan, Chap. IX, si. 46. 

4 Digha Nikaya, Vol. II, p. 165. 

5 Ancient Geography of India, pp. 430-3. 

8 Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 167, f.n. 5; J.R.A.S., 1913. P- 152. 


that, if we may trust the Chinese pilgrims, the territory of the Mallas 
of Kusinara and Pava was on the mountain slopes to the east of the 
Sakya land and to the north of the Vajjian confederation. But some 
would place their territory south of the Sakyas and east of the 
Vajjians. 1 It is a considerable distance from Kasia in the Gorakhpur 
district to Pawapuri of the Jainas in the Patna district, and one so 
ill as the Buddha was not likely to go such a distance on foot. There- 
fore Pava. of the Buddhist books appears to have been distinct from 
Pawapuri, and situated not very far from Kasia. 

The Cullavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka mentions another town 
of the Mallas named Anupiya, 8 where the Buddha resided for some 
time. This Anupiya may be the same as the mango-grove called 
Anupiya, where Gautama spent the first seven days after his re- 
nunciation, on his way to Rajagrha. 3 

A fourth town of the Mallas, called Uruvelakappa, where the 
Buddha stayed for some time, is mentioned in the Anguttara Nikdya.* 
In its neighbourhood a wide forest called Mahavana appears to 
have existed, where the Buddha went alone for midday rest after 
his meal, and met the gahapati Tapusa. 

From the Mahaftarinibbanu Suttanta account of the Buddha's 
death and cremation, 5 it is evident that the Mallas belonged to the 
Ksatriya caste; and they are repeatedly addressed by the Buddha 
as well as by Ananda and others as Vasetfchas or Vasisthas, 6 — showing 
that, like the Licchavis, they belonged to the Vasistha gotra. Like 
the Licchavis again, the Mallas are described by Mann (X, 22) as 
' born of a Ksatriya mother and of a Ksatriya father who was a vratya,' 
i.e. who had not gone through the ceremony of Vcdic initiation at 
the proper age. 

According to Kautilya, the Mallas were a sangha or corporation 
of which the members called themselves rajas, just as the Licchavis 
did. Buddhaghosa also calls them rajas.'' A passage in the Majjkima 
Nikdya mentions the Licchavis and Mallas as examples of sanghas 
and ganas. The Mallas of Pava. and Kusinara, then, had their 
respective Santhdgdras or Council-Halls, where all matters, both 
political and religious, were discussed. The Sangiii Suttanta of the 
Dtgha Nikdya 8 tells us that when the Buddha came to the Mallas, 
a new Council-Hall named Ubbhataka had just been built at Pava. 

1 Buddhist India, p. 26. 

2 Cidlavagga, VII, t, i; Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., Pt. Ill, p. 224. 
s Jdlaka (Fausboll), Vol. I, pp. 65-6. 

* Samyutta- Nikdya, Pt. V, p. 228; AitgitUura Nikdya, Vol. IV, p. 438. 

s Digha Nikdya, II, p. 165. s Ibid., Ill, p. 209. 

7 SumangatavUdsim , ill, p. 971; and see Licchavi chapter. 

8 Digha, Pt. Ill, p. 207. 


The Mallas invited the Buddha to this hall, saying, 'Let the Lord, 
the Exalted One, be the first to make use of it. That it has first 
been used by the Exalted One will be for the lasting good and happi- 
ness of the Pava Mallas'. At their request, the Buddha gave a 
discourse on his doctrine to the Mallas of Pava, until the late hours 
of the night. The Mallas were in assembly and had been doing 
business in their Council-Hall when Ananda went to them with the 
message of the impending death of the Master; and again they 
gathered in assembly, evidently in the same Santhagdra, to discuss 
the procedure to be followed in the disposal of the body, and after- 
wards to discuss the claims put forward by the various Ksatriya 
kings and peoples. 

In the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta, there is mention of a set 
of officers called Purisas among the Mallas of Kusinara, about 
whose functions we are quite in the dark. Rhys Davrds 1 takes 
them to be a class of subordinate servants. It is not unlikely that 
they are the same as the Pulisas mentioned in the edicts of Asoka. 

' It seems that the Mallas were a martial race and were devoted 
to such manly sports as wrestling.' It is probable that the word 
'Malla" denoting a professional wrestler was derived from the tribal 
name of this people. But the Mallas cultivated learning as well as 
physical culture. We read in one of the Buddhist texts, for example, 
that Bandhula, a son of a king of Kusinara, went to Taxila for his 
education. There he studied with a great teacher, along with 
Pasenadi of Eosala, and Mahali, a Licehavi prince of Vaisab. After 
completing his education he came back to this realm.' We often 
find the Mallas discussing philosophical problems, as may be seen, 
e.g. from Samyutta NikSya, IV, pp. 3V S - '. v . PP- 228 '9' 34°ff- 

Before the advent of Jainism and Buddhism, the Mallas seem 
to have been anTya-worshippers like their neighbours, the Licchavis. 
One of their shrines called Makuta Bandhana, to the east of Kusmara 
is mentioned in connection with the death of the Buddha: his dead 
body was carried thither for cremation. There is no indication of 
the kind of worship that was performed at this place. 

Jainism found many followers among the Mallas. The accounts 
in Buddhist Literature of the schism that appeared in the Jaina 
Church after the death of Mahavira amply prove this. At Pava, the 
followers of Nigantha Nataputta were divided after the death of 
their great Tirthaikara. There were both ascetics and lay devotees 
among these Jainas, for we read that on account of the disputations 
among the ascetics, 'even the lay disciples of the white robe, who 

■ Buddhist Mia, p. 21. * l'>- k ' Pmsbetl), Vol. II, p. 96. 

a Fausboll, Dhammapadiim (old edition), p. 2ir. 


followed N&taputta, showed themselves shocked, repelled and indig- 
nant at the Niganthas.' ' These lay Jainas appear from this passage 
to have been draped in white robes, just as the Svetambaras are at 
the present day. The Buddha seems to have taken advantage of the 
schism that overtook the Jaina church on the death of its founder, 
for the propagation of the rival faith. In the Pasadika Suttanta, 
we find that Cunda, the novice of Pava, brought the news of the 
death of Mahavira to Ananda at Samagama in the Malla country. 
Ananda forthwith reported it to the Buddha who delivered a long 
discourse. 2 

The Manas were much attached to the founder of Jaimsm. We 
are informed by the Kalpa Sutra that to mark the passing away of 
the great Jina, nine Mallakis or Malla chiefs were among those that 
instituted an illumination on the day of the New-moon, saying, 
'Since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination 
of material matter.' 3 

Buddhism also attracted many devotees among the Mallas 
some of whom, like the venerable Dabba, attained a high and res- 
pected position among the brethren. 1 On account of his virtues, 
he was appointed, after due election by the Buddhist Sangha, a 
regulator of lodging places and apportioner of rations. He was so 
successful in the discharge of these duties, which required a great 
deal of patience and tact, that he was considered by the Sangha to be 
possessed of miraculous powers. But there were some who were 
envious of him, and preferred charges against him to bring about 
his expulsion from the Sangha. The venerable Dabba, however, was 
exculpated from these charges. 

Another Malla, Khandasumana, born in the family of a Malla 
raja of Pava, entered the Buddhist Order and acquired six-fold 
Abhmna.. 5 

Once, Buddha_was-in the country of the Mallas at Uruvelakappa. 
One day he asked Ananda toremain there, while he left for Mahavana 
to spend the day. While Ananda was at Uruvelakappa, ajiouse- 
holder named Tapussa, probably a Malla, came to him, and Ananda 
took him to the Buddha whose teachings cured Tapussa of his desire 
for sensual pleasures. 6 Another Malla, Roja, asked Ananda whether 
the Buddha would accept potherbs and meal from him, and the 
Buddha asked him to hand them over to the bhikkhus. 7 A certain 
Slha was born in the country of the Mallas, in the family of a raja. 

i Digha, III, p. 210. 2 Ibid., Ill, p. rr8. 

a Jaina Sulras, Pt. I, S.B.E., XXII, p. 266. 

* Vinaya Texts, Pt. Ill, pp. 4ff. c Psalms "J the Brethren, p. 90. 

e Anguttara Sikiiya, Vol. IV, pp. 43 8 ~4 8 - 

1 Vinaya Texts, Pt. II, S.BX, Vol. XVII, p. 139. 


As soon as he saw the Buddha, he was attracted to him. The 
Buddha taught him the Dhamma, and he entered the Buddhist 
order and eventually developed insight and acquired Arhatship. 1 

It was at the Mallian city of Pava. that the Buddha ate his last 
meal at the house of Cunda, the smith, and fell ill. Though in pain, 
the Buddha went to the rival Mallian city of Kusmara. When he 
felt that his last moment was fast approaching, he sent Ananda with 
a message to the Mallas of KusTnara who had then assembled in 
their Santhagdra (Council-Hall) for some public affair. On receipt 
of the uews, they flocked to the Sala grove where the Buddha was, 
with their young men, girls and wives, ' being grieved and sad and 
afflicted at heart'. The venerable Ananda caused them 'to stand in 
groups, each family in a group, ' and presented them to the Buddha. 2 
After his last exhortations to the assembled brethren to work out 
their salvation with diligence, the Buddha entered into parinirvana. 

The Mallas then met together in their Council-Hall to devise 
some means of honouring the earthly remains of the Lord in a 
suitable manner, and carried them with music to the shrine of the 
Mallas, called the Makuta-bandhana, to the east of their city. They 
treated the remains of the Tathagata as they would treat the remains 
of a king of kings (Cakravarttiraja) . 3 When the cremation was over, 
they extinguished the funeral pyre with water scented with all sorts of 
perfumes", and collected the bones, which they placed in their Council- 
Hall, surrounding them 'with a lattice work of spears and with a 
rampart of bows.' * 

■ As they had a separate principality, the Mallas of Pava were 
among the various clans that pressed their claims for a share ofthe 
remains. Thev sent a messenger to the Mallas of Kusinara, saying: 
' The Exalted One was a Ksatriya and so are we. We are worthy to 
receive a portion of the relies of the Exalted One. Over the remains 
of the Exalted One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in his honour 
will we celebrate a feast.' Both the Mallas of Pava and of Kusmara 
erected stupas over their respective shares, and celebrated feasts. 

The Mallas appear to have usually been on friendly terms with 
their neighbours, the Licchavis, with whom they had many ties 
of kinship, though, as was inevitable, there were occasional rivalries 
between the two States, as, for instance, the story of Bandhula, a 
Mallian general, shows. 5 Bandhula drove to Vaisali, the Licchavi 
capital, where he arrogantly misused the water of a tank where the 
members of the king's families were in the habit of obtaining water 

1 Psalms of the Brdhren, p. 80. * Digha, II, pp. 148 foil, 

a Ibid., p. 161. 4 Ited.,\>. 164. 

5 Fausboll, Dhtimnuipadttm (old ed.), pp. 218-20. 


for ceremonial purposes. Five hundred Licchavi Rajas set forth to 
capture Bandhula, but the latter 'sped a shaft and it cleft the heads 
of all the chariots and passed right through the five hundred kings, '— 
who forthwith died in gruesome circumstances. 

The Mallas appear to have lost their independence to that 
ambitious monarch of Magadha, Ajatasatru, and their dominions 
were annexed to the Magadhau empire. 1 

■ P. K. Ehaudarkar, Carmickael Lectures, 1918, p. 79. 



It is not difficult for the philologist to recognise the present 
Bengal in the tribal name 'Vanga'. But Vanga in ancient days 
denoted only a portion of present-day Bengal; it is distinguished 
in ancient literature and epigraphic records not only from Radha 
which included Suhma 1 or was conterminous with it 2 and Cauda 
which at one time included Karnasuvama 3 and a portion of Radha,*— 
all making up what is now roughly known as Western Bengal,— 
but also from Pundra or Pundra vardhana which included Varendra or 
Varendri, 5 making up what is roughly identical with present Northern 
Bengal. Vanga thus stood for what is now known as Eastern 
Bengal comprising the modern Dacca and Chittagong divisions. 
Among the important divisions of Vanga in ancient days were 
included Samatata (mod. Faridpur), according to Watters, and for 
some time even Tamralipta or Tamalitti (mod. Tamluk).* _ Heraa- 
candra in his Abhidhanacintamani (IV, 23), however, identifies the 
country of the Vanga with that of a tribe called the Harikelas. 5 
In the eleventh centurv Cola Inscription (Tirumalai Rock Ins. of 
Rajendra Cola) as well as in the Goharwa Plate of Karnadeva, king 
of Cedi (c. 1040-1070 A.D.), the Vanga country is referred to as 
Bahgala-desam, which, in the thirteenth century, came to be called 
Bangala (Wright's Marco Polo) and in Mohamedan times Bahgla. The 
Tirumalai Inscription distinguishes Vanga from South Radha 
(Takkana Ladham) and North Radha (Uttila Ladham) ._ Thus 
Vanga which at one time denoted Eastern Bengal has now given its 
name to the entire province of modern Bengal, the English rendering 
of the name being derived from Bangala or Barigla. 8 

1 I.H.Q., Vol. VIII, No. 3, pp. 525-9. 

2 S.B.E., Vol. XXII, pp. S4-5, Niiakantha's commentary onthe Sabhaparvan 
of the Mahabhdrata. ' Suhmah Radhah' = The Suhmas are the Radhas. 

3 M. Chakravarti, J.A.S.B., 1908, p. 274. * Prabodhucandrodaya, Canto II. 
6 Tarpandighi Grant of Uikstnaiiasona, InscripHons »..'" Bengal, III, pp. ggff. 

But in some of the Sena records Vanga is included in Pundravardhanabhukti . 

• I.H.Q., Vol. VIII, No. 3, P. 533- , R „. „ „ _. 

T According to I-tsing (I-tsiug, Takakttsu. p. xlvii, Wuhuig, another Chmese 
pilgrim, visited Harikela, which was the eastern limit of E. India. Hankela is also 
mentioned in an illustrated manuscript of A stiisahasraprajnaparamttd in the Camb. 
Univ. Library {HISS. Add. 1643). 

s In a Nalanda Inscription recently odited by N. G. Majumdar {£p. Ind., Vol. 
XXI, Pt. Ill, pp. 97ff.) the name Vangala Ma appears. 


In the time of Baudhayana 1 (fourth century B.C. ?), the Vangas 
were distinguished from the Pundras, while in the Epics and Puranas, 
Vanga is distinguished from Pundra and Suhma, as well as from Anga 
and Kalinga. According to the Puranas and the Mahabharata* 
King Bali's queen, Sudesna, and the sage DIrghatamas had five sons 
(with Bali's consent): Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra, and Suhma. 
These five were called the Baleya Ksatras or Baleya Brahmanas, 
and are said to have been the founders of the five countries bearing 
their respective names. In the Matsyapurana, Vanga and Suhma 
are included in a list of the eastern countries (Chap. 114, 43"45). 3 
According to the Mahabharata (XII, Chap. 5, 6607), King Jarasandha 
is said to have extended his supremacy over the Angas, Vangas, 
Kalihgas, and Pundras. Kaina is also once said to have conquered 
the Suhmas, Angas and Vangas {Karnaparvan , Chap. 8, 19), while 
Vasudeva is said to have once routed' in battle the Aiigas, Vangas, 
Kahngas and Paundras along with other peoples. In the Sabha- 
parvan, the Pandavas are described as having subjugated the 
Pundras and the Vangas, and led their victorious army to Suhma 
(Sab'hafiarvan, Chap. XXX, 23-5). 

It, therefore, seems that in the period represented by the Epics 
and the Puranas, Vanga, Pundra (or Paundra) and Suhma were the 
three important divisions of Bengal, but it is difficult to define with 
any degree of exactitude the geographical positions of these 
divisions. We may, however, assume that Pundra and Suhma were 
two adjacent tracts, identical roughly with the modern Rajshahi 
and Burdwan divisions respectively. In the Sabhdparvan of the 
Mahabharata Anga and Vanga are mentioned as forming one Visaya 
or kingdom. This is supported by a reference in the Ramayana (Bk. 
II, Chap. X) where the Vangas are mentioned along with the Angas; 
they are, moreover, nearly always associated in ancient literature 
with the Angas and Kahngas. 

The Vangas as a tribe are not mentioned in earlier Vedic litera- 
ture, unless we recognise them in the curious word ' Vanga - 
Vagadhah' which occurs m the Aiiareya "Aranyaka (II, I, I). 
' Vanga- Vagadhah ' has often been amended into 'Vahga-Magadhah', 

1 Dharmasutra, I, I, 14; cf. Oldenberg, Buddha, 394, n. 

S VayuP., Cliap. 99,26- 34.47 c >7 ■ Tri'a'nmanda P., Ill, Chap. 74, 25-34,47-100; 
Matsya P., Chap. 48, 23-9, 43 % Brahma P., IV, Chap. 18, 1 ; Bkag. P., IX, Chap. 
23, 5; Mbh. I, Chap. 104, 4193-221, with, variations; XII, Chap. 343, 13177-84, cf. 
Paraiter, Anc. hid. Hist. Tradition, pp. 109 and 158. 

3 Cf. also Mbh. [lilnsmaparvan. Chap. 9, 46) where the Angas, Vangas and 
Kalmgas are mentioned as East Indian peoples (Law, 'Some Ksalriya Tribes of 
Ancient India', \>. 147). Cf. also Ramayana (Kiskindhya Kanda, Canto xlii) where 
the Pundras are mentioned as an Eastern people. 

The physical map of India. 


i.e. the Vangas and the Magadhas, who were neighbouring peoples. 
The amendment is doubtful; but if it be correct, the Vangas along 
with the Magadhas must have been branded by the Aryans as an 
impure people, probably a pre-Aryan tribe; for the two tribes are 
described as'paksi-visesah', or like certain species of birds. Baudha- 
yana too brands Vanga as an impure country, along with Pundra, 
Kalinga and Sauvira. An Aryan who had been to any of these 
countries was required to perform a certain sacrificial rite to become 
free from the impurities attaching to residence there. Even in the 
time of Patanjali (second century B.C.) the Vangas and their country 
were excluded from Aryavarta. The country was, however, Aryan- 
ised before Manu wrote his Dharmasastra (between 200 B.C. and 
200 A.D., ace. to Buhler), for the Manusamhita extends the eastern 
boundary of Aryavarta to the sea. 1 In the early Buddhist literature 
where detailed lists appear of many countries and peoples, the 
Vangas and their country are conspicuous by their absence. They 
are, however, mentioned in the Jain Prajnapdna, 2 which ranks Ahga 
and Vanga in the first group of Aryan peoples, and in the Milinda- 
Panho, 3 where Vanga is described as a trading-place to be reached 
by sea. The mother of Sihabaliu and Slhasivall, of Mahavanisa 
and Dipavamsa fame, was a Vanga princess, the daughter of a king 
of Vanga who had married the daughter of the king of Kalinga.* 

The first epigraphic mention of the Vangas is probably made 
in the MaharauH Iron Pillar Inscription {C.I.I. , Vol. Ill, pp. *4lff.), 
where the mightv King Candra is said to have ' in battle in the Vanga 
countries turned back with his breast the enemies who uniting 
together came against him. ' H. P. Sastri identified this King Candra 
with King Candravarman of the Allahabad Pillar Inscription, and with 
the king of the same name of Pokhrana, which he located m Marwar 

1 For early references to Vanga see Levi, Pre-Aryan et Pre-Dravidian dans 
I'Inde, .... , 

2 It is interring to sec what accounts we may get of the ancient \ anga people 
out of some records of non-Arvan activities of a time when the Aryans disdained to 
retire the tribes outside the oalo of AryGvartn. For a detailed study vide B. U 
Majumdar, Uisi„y of the Rtrwh Language, pp. 38-41. Glimpses of the ancient 

-■ \ - ■ .- iih the Tamil* are reflected in at least one place-name of ancient 

Bengal Tamralipti, which was once called DRmalipti or Damiktti, i.e. the city of the 
DSmala people. The Damalas are the same as the lamala people or the Tamila; 
and Bengal must once have been a home of these people. 

H. P. Sastri, USnast, Vaisakh, 1321 B.S., pp. 356-8- 

* M£iSv!msTvi%.; Dipavamsa, IX, 2. We may note here that L«>, which 
is mentioned in this story has been proved by H. C. Ray, in an mte esting note, 
to be identical with Radha (H. C. Ray, ' Lata— A Note , J.A.S.B. (new series J, 
Vol. XVIII, 1922, No. 7). 


in Rajputana. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri and S. K. Chatterjee, however, 
identify Pokhrana or Puskarana with a village of the same name on 
the Damodara river in the Bankura district of Bengal, some 25 
miles east of the Susiinia Hill on which the record of Candravarman 
is inscribed. 1 The Vangas are mentioned in Kalidasa's Raghu- 
vamsa, where Raghu is said to have conquered the Vangas after 
he had finished his task with the Suhnias, and then to have planted 
his victorious banner in the .midstream of the Ganges (Canto IV, 
35-6). This passage shows that in the age of Kalidasa (c. 400 A.D.) 
the Vangas were distinguished, as in earlier days, from the Suhmas. 
It is likely that the realm of the Vangas abutted on the Ganges, 
which probably formed the dividing line between the two countries. 
The Vahga country is also referred to in the Mahakuta Pillar 
Inscription (Ep. Ind., Vol. V), which tells us that in the sixth century 
A.D., Kirtivarman of the Calukya dynasty gained victories over 
the kings of Vahga, Ahga and Magadha, which were three neigh- 
bouring countries. Another reference to the realm of the Vanga 
people is made in the ' Gaidavaho' , a Marathi Prakrit poem that 
records the exploits of King Yasovarman of Kanauj (first half of 
the eighth century A.D). The identity of Yasovarman has been 
sufficiently established by his mention in Chinese records (as I-cha- 
fon-mo), and also in the Raj<ilayan*im of Kalhana; but the exploits 
recorded in the ' Gaudavaho' , with the exception of the main topics, 
i.e. the defeat and death of the Gauda king, are of doubtful historical 
value. We are told that Yasovarman, bent on conquest, first came 
to the river Son, whence he proceeded to the Vindhyas with his 
army. Fearing his approach, the Gauda king, who was also the king 
of Magadha, fled, and Yasovarman entered his territory and fixed 
his camp there. The Gauda king returned, and a battle was fought 
in which he was killed. Yasovarman next proceeded to the Vahga 
kingdom, whose king also submitted to him. 2 Not long after 
Yasovarman's victories, Odivisa, Vahga and five other countries 
of the east (which seem to have included Gauda, Suhma, Pundra, 
etc.) seem, according to the celebrated Tibetan historian 
(Ind. Ant., Vol. IV, pp. 365-6), to have been plunged into a chaos 
which has been described as ' Matsya-nyaya ' , — i.e. the system where 
the strong destroy the weak, like the big fish eating up the small 
frog. This was ended when Gopala, the first of the Pala dynasty, was 
elected king from amongst the people sometime in the middle of 
the eighth century A.D. 

1 Ray Chaudhuri, P.H.A.I., p. 448 (4& Ed.) ; S. K. Chatterjee, The Origin and 
Development of the Bengali l.auguime. II, p. ro6r. See also I.H.Q., I, Pt. II, p. 255. 
* N. Ray, The Maitkharis of Kanoj, Cat. Rev., 1928, Feb., pp. 216-7. 


From the above account we see that the Vahga country seems 
to have been distinguished from that of the Gaudas in the eighth 
centurv A D ; and this distinction seems to have been maintained 
as late' as the twelfth century A.D. In the Pithapuram plates of 
Prithvisena (A.D. 1186) King Malla is said to have subdued among 
others the kings of the Vahgas, Magadhas and Gaudas. In the 
Tirumalai Rock Inscription > of King Rajendra Cola (1025 AD.) 
Vanealadesam, i.e. the realm of the Vahgalas or Vahgas (at that 
time rtded over by Govinda Candra) is distinguished from Uttira- 
Ladam or Uttara-Radha (= the Brahma country of the Kavya- 
mimdmsd),' ruled over by Mahipala, and from Takkana-Ladam or 
Daksina Radha (= Suhma of the Epics, the Puranas and the Kavya- 
mimainsa), ruled oyer by Ranasura. The Kavyamimamsa,' a work 
of the tenth centurv A.D., mentions Ahga, Vahga, Suhma, Brahma, 
Pundra etc., as janapadas of the east. The Vahga country* also 
referred to not only in the copperplate grant of Vaidyadeva ol 
Kamarupa (twelfth century), who is said to have been victorious m 
southern Vanga (Ep. Ini., Vol. II, p. 355). but also m the Edilpur 
plate of Kesavasena, the Madanpada plate of Visvarfipasena, and 
the Sahitya Parishad plate of the same king {Inscriptions of Bengal, 

V °S" I tta'appea I ^hat 1 frl,m the Ml of the later Guptas (eighth 
century) to the break-up of the Sena dynasty (twelfth century), the 
more important divisions of Bengal were Vanga, Pundra Cauda and 
Sanaa (which latter, according to one authority, was identical with 
Radha-NIlakantha's commentary on the Mahabharatn, and, accord- 
ing" to another,' stood for a portion, i.e. the southern portion of 
Radha, the northern portion being called Brahma).- Other 
important divisions were Kamasuvama and Varendra, ramrahptl 
Bagdi, Saniatata and Harikela (of which the last two were included 
in or identical' with Vahga). Tamralipti was mduded m Suhma 
and Varendra in Pundra or Pundravardhana, while Kamasuvama 
seems to have stood' for some region perhaps identical with some 
portion of the northern Radha country. Some scholars have identi- 
fied it with Rahgamati in the Murshidabad district." Others think 
that Kamasuvarna was situated to the west of the Bhagirathi and 
included Murshidabad, Bankura, Burdwan and Hughh » Bagdi, 
one of the four divisions of the ancient Bengal, according to \ allala^ 
(Gopala Bhatta's Vallila-Chantatn—a book of doubtful 

S "slr'sS/^W «/-4.««< mk >"■<}■■ vS"™."! 1 '; 


- J.A.S.B., XXII, p. 281; Kubjtkc 
5 Dey's Geographical Dicty., p. 94. 


PP ' 5 ^J 9 A.S.B., XXII, p. 281; Kubjika Tantra, Chap. 7 


value— Piirva-khanda, verses 6 and 7) comprised the delta of the 
Ganges and the Brahmaputra, and may be identified with what is 
now known as the 24-parganas and the Sunderbans (C.A.G.I., Hd. 
Majumdar, pp. 730-1). . 

Samatata, as we have already said, was included m the larger 
divisions of ' Vanga. Some scholars are of opinion that it was 
distinct from Vanga, which lay between the Meghna on the east, 
the sea on the south, and the old Budiganga course of the Ganges 
on the north. The western boundary of Vanga appears always to 
have been indefinite (vide Bhattasali, Sculptures in the Dacca 
Museum, pp. 4-6). i Samatata is mentioned for the first time in the 
Allahabad Pillar Inscription 2 of Samudragupta as one of the most 
important among the north-east Indian frontier kingdoms which 
submitted to the mighty Gupta emperor. It is also mentioned m 
the Karmavibhaga of the Brhaisamhita (Chap. XIV) as an eastern 
country, and was visited by the Chinese travellers, Hsiian Tsang, 
I-tsing"and Seng-chi. Hsiian Tsang describes it as 'the country 
of which the rivers have flat and level banks of equal height on both 
sides'. According to him, it was much to the south of Kamrupa and 
east, of Tamralipta ; it was low, moist and on the sea side. Samatata 
thus seems to have been identical with the delta of the Ganges and 
Brahmaputra and must have comprised, according to epigraphic 
evidence, the modern districts of Tipperah, Noakhali, Sylhet 
(J.A.S.B., 1915, pp. 17, 18), and probably portions of Bansal. That 
it included Tipperah is proved also by Nos. 19 and 59 of the 
Cambridge MSS., Add., 1643, and Foucher, Iconographie Boud- 
dhique. Vol. I; also Bhattasali, op. tit., pp. 12-13. 

When Hsiian Tsang visited the country (c. 640 A.D.), Samatata 
was an important kingdom. There were about 30 Buddhist Sarhgha- 
ramas with about 2,000 priests in the country, while the temples 
of Brahmanical gods were also numerous, and there were also many 
Jain (Nigantha) ascetics. During the visits of Hsiian Tsang and 
Seng-chi, Samatata seems to have been under the rule of the Khadga 
dvnastv. 3 The Asrafpur copperplates of the Khadgas [Mem., 
A.S.B.', Vol. I, No. 6} were issued from a place called Karmanta, 
which has been identified with Bad-Mamta, 12 miles west of Comilla. 
Karmanta has often been identified as the capital of Samatata 
(Dey, Geog. D-icty., p. 175; Bhattasali, op. tit., p. 6). Later on, 

1 Regarding Vanga, Vangala and Samatata, mention may be made here of 
H. C. Ray Chaudhtiri's Bengali article, ' Vanga kon desa' in his Studies in Indian 
Antiquities, Cal. Univ., pp. 184-192. 

* C./.J., Vol. Ill, No. 1. 

s Memoirs of A.S.B.,V6l.I,m. 6; alsoBeal, UfeofHtuen Tsang, Introduction, 
p. xi, No. 40. 


Samatata came to be ruled over by the Candra dynasty of Vanga 
(cf. Govindacandra of Vangala desam of the Tirumalai Inscription). 
The Rainpal plate of Sricandradtvam (Ep. Ind., Vol. XII, p. 136) 
informs us that a Candra dynasty held sway over the Rohita hill 
(identified by Bhattasali with a range of hillocks in the Tipperah 
district, see Sculptures, in the Dacca Museum, pp. 9-10), and appears 
to have mastered the whole of Vanga including .Samatata. Sri- 
candradeva's father Trailokyacandra is described as having been 
the mainstay of the king of Harikela. The Candras were ousted 
from their possession of Samatata in the beginning of the eleventh 
century by the Varmans, who in their turn gave place to the Senas 
towards the end of the same century. During their rule Vanga was 
included in the Pundravardhanabhukti . 


The earliest literary reference to the country of the Gaudas 
is made by the celebrated grammarian Panini who seems to locate 
the country in the east (Panini, VI, u, 99-100). The country is 
also referred to in the Arthasastra of Kautilya as well as in the 
Kamasutra of Vatsyayana (nakhacchedya ■prakaranam, ii, 13)- 
Varahamihira (sixth century A.D.) probably refers to the Cauda 
country when he places 'Gaudaka' in the eastern division of India. 
But tlie first epigraphic mention of the tribe is made in the Haraha 
inscription of A.D. 554 (Ep. Ind., XIV, pp. noff.), where King 
Isanavarman of the Maukhari dynasty claims victories over the 
Andhras, the Sulikas (prob. = the Calukyas) and the Gaudas, who 
are described as living on the seashore (Gaudan samudrasraydn). 
It is difficult to define with any amount of certainty the exact region 
which the Gaudas occupied at that time. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri, 
however, suggests that their 'proper realm' was Western Bengal 
as it bordered on the sea, and included Karnasuvarna and Radhapuri 
(P. H.A.I. , 4th Ed., p. 509). This may find confirmation in the 
combined testimony of Bana and Hsiian Tsang who state that 
Sasanka or Karnasuvarna (identified with Rahganiati in Murshid- 
abad, W. Bengal) was the Gauda king, the great rival of Rajya- 
vardhana and Harsavardhana, the kings of Thanesvar (seventh 

The fight with the Maukharis seems to have brought the Gaudas 
into the forefront of Eastern Indian politics. At first the Gupta- 
Maukhari struggle effected the serious discomfiture of the Guptas ; 
in fact they were obliged to give up Magadha to their enemies and 
retire to Malava. 1 During the reign of Rajyavardhana of Kanauj, 
the king of Malava was Devagupta, 2 and the king of the Gaudas. 
was Sasahka who was also the king of Karnasuvarna, according 
to Hsiian Tsang. Devagupta allied himself with Sasahka, and 
defeated and killed Grahavarman, the Maukhari king, who had 
married Rajyasri, sister of Rajyavardhana and Harsavardhana. 
Rajyavardhana, who came to the rescue of his widowed sister, 
and succeeded in defeating Devagupta, was treacherously slain 

1 N. Ray, The Maukharis 0/ Kanoj, Cul. Rev., 1928, Feb. 
a Bana's Harsiicarita; cf. also /lie Madkuvan and iiaHskhcra Inscrihtions ») 


by the tetter's ally, Sasahka, king of Cauda 1 (606 A.D.). Though 
the murdered king's brother Harsavardhana sought to avenge 
his death, Sasiihka is known to have been still in power as late 
as the year 619 ; but his kingdom probably became subject to Harsa 
at a later date. 2 

After the death of Sasanka, the'Gaudas seem to have faded out 
of history for a time ; but in the first half of the eighth century they 
again appear on the stage, and a Cauda king is seen to occupy the 
throne of Magadha. This appears from the Gaudamho, a Prakrit 
poem by Vakpatiraja, which records the slaying of the Cauda king, 
who was also the king of Magadha, by Yasovarman, king of Kanau]. 
The Gauda country in Vakpatiraja's account is distinguished from 
the Vang'a country. As its king was also the kmg of Magadha, 
it may be assumed that it was contiguous with Magadha. 

The sequel to the story of Yasovarman is given m the 
Rajatarangim of Kalhana. Yasovarman was defeated in his turn 
bv Lalitaditya king of Kasmlr, who had launched out on a career 
of conquest.' Lalitaditya is also credited by Kalhana with having 
defeated another Cauda king and compelled the latter to give him 
his whole elephant force. We are not told who this Cauda kmg 
was or which region he ruled over. According to Kalhana, Lalita- 
ditya had the Cauda king killed in spite of a promise given not to 
harm him and sworn bv his favourite god Parihasa Kesava. When 
the Gaudas heard of this treachery, they at once started for Kasmir. 
and entering the capital, they threw down the idol of the Ramasvami 
temple broke it into pieces and strewed them on the road. While 
they were thus engaged, the royal army from Srmagar arrived 
and attacked them. Undaunted, the Gaudas continued in their 
work of destruction until they were annihilated by the army. 
Even in the time of Kalhana (twelfth century A.D.) the Ramasvami 
temple was empty, and the heroism of the Gaudas was sung all 
over the valley But it is difficult in the absence of other records 
to ascertain the elements of historic truth underlying this romantic 
storv and sober history would hardly agree to recognise it." 

Lalitaditya's grandson Jayapida (close of the eighth century-) 
is also described by Kalhana as having had some relations with 
the Gaudas He is said to have once gone to Bengal incognito. 

i V A Smith, Early Bistoury of h'din (4th Ed.), p. 350. 

. The Cauda country fa referred to in the Apshad Inscnpfon of Adityasena 
(„ 655 ™D ) where SuksmaSva, the engrave, of the inscription, is ment.oned as 
bei ni f "^ Y ,fo™n°-deraf£n,.„a luahes Lalitaditya star, on a march 
of trirnnphal conquest round the whole of India, which is manifestly legendary 
(Stein, Chronicles of the Kings 0/ K&smir , Vol. I, p. 90). 


Having killed a tiger which had become a terror to the city of 
Patmdravardhana, he came to the notice of the king who ruled 
there," one Jayanta. Jayanta gave him his daughter in marriage, 
and Jayapida is then said to have subdued five kings of the Cauda 
country (which probably meant the major portion of the province 
of Bengal with Monghyr and Bhagalpur of the province of Bihar) 
on behalf of his father-in-law, and then returned to Kasmirin 
triumph with his bride. The whole story reads more as fiction 
than history, and serious criticism has doubted its authenticity. 1 

The Gaudas are twice mentioned in R&jasekhara's Kavya- 
mimamsa, where it is said that they spoke Sanskrit, but could 
not speak Prakrit well (Chap. X, p. 57 ; Chap, y, p. 33)- 

The Pala kings of Bengal are often described as 'Lords of 
Gauda' (Gaudendra or Gaudesvara) as well as ' VangapaW , in the 
contemporary epigraphk records of the ninth century A.D. 
Dharmapala and Devapala had often to measure^ swords with the 
Gurjara Pratiharas on the one band and the Rastrakutas on the 
other. Thus the Radhanpur plates of Rastrakuta Govinda III 
(Ep. Ind., VI, p. 248) as well as the Wani grant of the same monarch 
refer to a defeat inflicted by the Rastrakuta king Dhruva upon 
Vatsaraja, the Gurjara king, who had already defeated the king 
of Cauda. The Sanjan Copperplate of Amoghavarsa I tells us that 
Dhruva took away the white umbrellas of the king of Gauda, which 
were destroyed between the Ganges and the Jumna (Ind. Ant., Vol. 
XII, p. 159). That Dhruva actually advanced so far is also proved by 
a verse in the Baroda plates of Kakkaraja. This proves almost con- 
clusively that the kingdom of Gauda in the ninth century stretched 
at least as far as Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges ; and 
Vatsaraja's son Xagabhata is stated in the Gwalior Inscription of 
Bhoja to have defeated the king of Bengal (c. 810 A.D.). The 
Jodhpur Inscription of Bauka informs us that his father Kakka 
'gained renown by fighting with the Gaudas at Madgagiri _ (or 
Monghyr)' (Majumdar, Gurjara Pratiharas, p. 60). The Sirur 
and Nilgund Inscriptions (Ep. Ind., Vol. VI) of Amoghavarsa I 
(866 A.D.) refer to the Rastrakuta Govinda III, who imprisoned not 
only the Keralas and Ma'lavas, but also the Gaudas, whose king 
at that time was Devapala who is described in the Garuda Pillar 
Inscription of Badal (Ep. Ind., Vol. II, pp. i6off.) as the Lord of 
Gauda. It was probably during the reign of Devapala's grandson 

1 Stein, Chronicles of the Kings of Kasmlr, Vol. I, p. 94. ' But the romantic 
tale of his visit incognito to the capital of Paundravardhana, then the seat of govern- 
ment of a king named Jayanta, unknown to sober history, seems to be purely 
imaginary' (Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 387). 


Narayanapala that the Rastraktita king Krishna II inflicted a 
defeat on the Gaudas. In the Deoli Plates he is said to have 
'taught humility to the Gaudas'. The Gaudas are represented as 
having been humiliated by Krishna III as well (Karhad Plates of 
Krishna III, Ep. Ind., IV, p. 287). The Kamarupa copperplate 
of Vaidyadeva also refers to the Lord of Gauda, evidently meaning 
the Pala king 1 who appointed Vaidyadeva as ruler (Ep. Ind., Vol. II, 

P 348) ■ 

After the fall of the Palas, the Gauda country seems to have 
passed into the hands of the Senas. Vijayasena (c. 1060 A.D.), 
one of the early kings of the Sena dynasty, is described in the 
Deopara Inscription (Ep. Ind., Vol. I, pp. SOS-^) as having 
defeated Nanya, Vira, and the kings of Gauda, Kamarupa, and 
Kalinga. The Madhainagar copperplate of Laksmanasena (J. A .S.B., 
N.S., Vol. V, pp. 467ft) describes Laksmanasena (early twelfth 
century) as having suddenly seized the kingdom of Gauda, and 
raided" Kalinga. He is referred to as Gandeivara, i.e. Lord of 
Gauda, and his sons Kesavasena and Visvarupasena are also 
referred to as Lords of Gauda (J.A.S.B., N.S., Vol. X, pp. 99-104). 
During the rule of the Senas the Gauda country seems to have 
more than once been attacked. In the Nagpur Stone Inscription 
of the rulers of Malava (1104-5 A.D.), Laksmadeva, the Paramaia 
king, is said to have defeated the Lord of Gauda— an unhistorical 
claim, says Kielhorn (Ep. Ind., Vol. II, p. 193). The Pithapuram 
Inscription of Prithivisvara (Prithivisena) points out that King 
Malla is credited with having subdued among others the Lord of 
the Gaudas. 2 

The' Gaudas at one time or another must have inhabited other 
countries and localities than the region with which they were 
primarily associated. The late A. M. T. Jackson pointed out that 
Thaneswar was called Guda (a corruption of Gauda) m Alberum's 
day (J.R.A.S., 1905, pp. 163-4)- He was supported by 
B. C. Majumdar [J.R.A.S., 1906, p. 442), who cites a verse from 
the Matsvapurana to the effect that Raja Sravasta founded 
Sravasti in Gaud'adesa— the evident conclusion being that ' Gauda 
must have been lying to the north of Kosala and to the north-west 
of MithikV The reference is supported by similar references 
in the Kurma and Lingo. Puranas*; and R. C. Majumdar* was led 
to conclude that there was more than one Gauda. It is more 

1 Kumarapala, ace. to Smith, Early History of India, p. 416 (4th E*.). 
! See chap, on the Vangas. 

» Matsya P., XII, p. 30; Linga P., I, p. 65; Kurma P., I, 20, 19. 
1 CiiYJara Pratiharas, p. 34' f - n * 2 - 



likely however, that Sravasti which is referred to m the Puranas is 
the same Sravasti which is mentioned in the Silimpnr Inscription of 
PrahSs (Ep. Ind., Vol. XII, pp. 283-95), and which is to be located 
somewhere in North Bengal, i.e. in the Varendra country of Gauda. 
Gonda, a subdivision of Uttara Kosala, 42 miles south of the 
Kosala Sravasti, is, according to Cunningham, a corruption of 
Gauda.' The term Paiica Gauda, often used to designate the 
entire territory of Northern India as far as Kanauj and the river 
Sarasvati, is however late, and is probably 'reminiscent of the 
Gauda empire of Dharmapala and Devapala, and cannot be equated 
with the ancient realm of the Gaudas in the early centuries of the 
Christian era' (P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., p. 537). The rums of the 
ancient city of the Gaudas, which was situated at the junction 
of the Ganges and the Mahananda, can still be seen near Maldah 
in North Bengal, at a distance of 10 miles from the town. 

1 Cunningham, Anc. Geography, p. 408; Itey'* Ger,°r:ip]>.ic:il Diclhnia'V, p. 63. 


The land of the Suhmas is mentioned for the first time probably 
in the Avtlnmgti-sutta, one of the oldest sacred books of the Jamas. 
It is stated therein that Mahavlra 'travelled in the pathless countries 
of the Ladhas, in Vajjabhumi and Subbhabhumi', where he was 
verv redely treated by the people. This I,adha ' is doubtless iden- 
tical with what later came to be known as Radha, and Subbhabhumi 
with the country of the Suhma people. The Sulima country was 
thus a portion of the more comprehensive region which was later 
known as Radha. According to the Epics and the Purfmas, the 
Suhma country is distinguished from Vanga and Tundra the two 
other important divisions of Bengal. The Epic account of Bhima s 
eastern conquests makes the country of the Suhmas distinct from 
Vanga and Tamralipta. In the Dasakumaracantam (Chap. VI) 
Damalipti or Tamralipti (mod. Tanduk in Mdnapur) is described 
as haviti" be-u a citv of the Suhmas, while according to the Matsya- 
purana (Chap. 114) Suhma and Tamralipti were different countries. 
The jam Vrajnapini includes Tamalitti in Vahga (see chapter on 

e The S! distinction between Suhma and Vaiiga (and Pundra) is 
supported by the Epic and Pauranic tradition, which distinguishes 
Suhma, one of the eponymous 'Baleya Ksatras , from his brothers 
Ahga Vanoa Kalihga and Pundra.' In the Sailmparmn (Chap, 
ao 16) of the MahaiMrala, the Pandavas are described as having 
subdued the Pundras and Vangas, and led their victorious army 
to Suhma. In Kalidasa's Raghuvmnsa also, Suhma is distinguished 
from the sea coast and the country of the Vangas (Canto IV, 35-t>)- 
According to the Favanaiuta of Dhoylka, the Suhma country 
seems to have been situated on the Ganges (verse 27). In 
Raiasekhara's Kcmamlmamsa, the Suhma country, along with 
Brahma to the north, Vanga and Pundra, was included in a list 
of the Janapaias of the east. In the Brhaisamlnta it is located 
between Vanga and Kalihga. 

According to Epic tradition, Suhma was once conquered by 
Pandu (Mbh.. Aiiparvan. Chap. 113), and at another time by 
Kama (Mbh., Kmnaparvan. Chap. 8, 19). It was in Sumbha 

1 J.A.S.B. (New Series), Vol. XVIII, 1922, No. 7. 

2 See chapter on the Vangas. 


or Suhma that the Buddha delivered the Janapada-kalyani Sutta, 
while dwelling in a forest near the town of Desaka 1 {Telapatta 
Jataka, Jataka No. 96, Vol. I, p. 393)- „,,-,,, 

According to Nilakantha's commentary on the Mahdbharata, 
the Suhmas and the Rad'has were one and the same people (see 
Vanga Chap.) ; but from the Aydranga-sutta, one may gather 
that the Suhma country formed a part of the Radha (I,adha) 
country, the other important part having been called Brahma 
(cf . Brahmottara of the Puranas and Brahma of the Kavyamimuipsa). 

In the fourth Jain Upanga, called the Prajnapana for 
Pannavana), as well as in the fifth Jain Anga. called the BhagavatJ, 
Ladha is described as having been one of the 16 great Janapadas, 
and one of the Ariya Janapadas of India. But the name Radha 
is not traceable in the Epics or any other Sanskrit record before 
the tenth century A.D. 'The reason for this fact seems to be that 
in all Sanskrit records of the period including the Great Epic, the 
names Suhma and Brahma have always been used to denote the 
Radha countrv which was almost fully covered by these two 
Janapadas.' a By the end of the tenth century A.D. Radha which 
seems to have comprised the whole of Western Bengal, bounded 
on the north and east by the Ganges and the Bhagirathi, had come 
to be divided into two parts : Uttara Radha and Daksina Radha : 
for Sriclhara Bhatta, the author of the philosophical work, 
Nyayakandali, composed in 991 A.D., is said to have been born in 
a village ' called Bhurisrsti in Daksina Radha. Moreover, the 
Tirumalai Rock Inscription of Rajendra Cola (1025 A.D.) mentions 
Uttara Radha and Daksina Radha as two distinct Janapadas (see 
Vanga Chap.); and Uttara Radha is also mentioned in the Belava 
copperplate of Bhojavarman as well as in the Naihati copperplate 
of Vallalasena, as a mandala (district) included in the bhukti 
(limit) of Vardhamana. ' It is highly probable that the two 
Janapadas, Brahma and Suhma, of the Epics, the Puranas, the 
Kavyamtmamsa, and other Sanskrit sources are identical with 
the two divisions of Radha (Uttara and Daksina) alluded to in the 
Nyayakandali , the Tirumalai Inscription, the Prabodkacandrodaya 
(Canto iij, and finally in the Sena records. The Radha country 
seems to have comprised the modern districts of Hooghly, Howrah, 
Burdwan, Bankura, and the major portions of Midnapur; Uttara 
and Daksina Radha being separated by the river Ajaya. 

1 Sedaka, aec. to Samyutta Nikaya, V, 89. 

2 For a most interesting and original discussion of this subject, see Sen, Some 
Janapadas of Ancient Radha {I.H.Q., Vol. VIII, No. 3, pp. 52iff.}. 


The_Etm4ias seem to have been a very ancient people. They 
are mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 18), where they 
are described as outcaste descendants of Visvamitra. Visvamitra, 
so the story goes", had many sons; but he adopted the BMrgaya 
Sunahsepa, calling him Devarata, and made him the chief of all 
his sons. But the other sons did not all accept Devarata's head- 
ship; and it is said that Visvamitra cursed those whe^repudiatepV- 
it to become" mlecchas or dog-caters 1 such as Andhras, Pundras 
and Sabaras. 3 

The Pundras are mentioned in the Sutras as well (ct. 
Baudhayana,' I, 2, 14), and in Manu's Dharmasastra (10, 43-4)— 
here in the form Paundraka. But they are most frequently men- 
tioned in tire Puranas and Epics by the name of their originator, 
Pundra one of the eponyanous ' Baleya Ksatras' " (see Vahga Chap.). 
It is said that Vasudeva defeated the Pundras along with the 
Angas Vangas, Kalihgas, Kasis, Kosalas, Karusas and others 
IMbh ' Dronaparvan, XI). Jarasandha, king of Magadha, is 
referred to in the Harivamsa (Chap. 116) as having once held sway 
over the Pundras as well as over the Ahgas, Vahgas and Kalmgas 
In the RdmSyana (KishindhyS Kania, XL.I, 12), Pundra is referred 
,to as a southern country, but, according to the Puranas and the 
( \M11Mbharaia, the realm of the Pundras seems to have been situated 
in the eastern division, as they arc always associated with the 
IVahgas, Angas and Kalingas, as also_ with the Suhmas. This 
is also supported by Rajasekhara's Kavyamlmamm, which places 
the Pundra country in the east along with Pragjyotrsa and Tamra- 
lipta * ' This determines the correctness of the usually accepted 
identification of the ancient Pundra country with what later came 
to be known as Pundravardhana. 

The Pundras are sometimes referred to as Paundras, Pamidrakas 
(cf. Manusamhita), or even Paundrikas. In the Muhabharata, 

1 MttotbhSrata, Xin, Chap. 3. . . 

2 Cf. also Sinkkyayana Sr. Sain, XV, 26; vide Pargiter, Ancient Indian His- 
torical Tradition,?. 235. . „ 

• Brahma P., Chap. 13, 3»-i; Agm P., Clap. 278; Mahya P Chap_ 48, 19, 
Vitfu P., IV, Chap. 18, r-2; Mbh., Aiipanan, Chap. 104; Garuda P., Chap. 143, 


these names are sometimes used as equivalents, but sometimes a 
distinction is made between the Paundras and Pundras. 1 Pargiter* 
holds that they were two different tribes occupying two different 
countries. According to this theory, the Pundras, linked as they 
were with the Vahgas and Kiratas {SabMparvan, XIV) and with the 
Angas and V angas (Sabhaftarvan , IV), occupied some intermediate 
position between the Angas, the Vangas, and the hilly countries 
of the Himalayas. Accordingly, the Pundra country should be 
identified with Maldah, portions of Purnea, east of tie Kosi, and 
parts of Dinajpur and Rajshahi. The Paundras, however, linked 
as they were with the Udras, Utkalas, Mekalas, Kalihgas and 
Andhras (Bhismafiarvan, IX ; Dronaparvan, IV), occupied the modern 
district of Santal Parganas and Birbhum and northern portion of 
Hazaribagh. 3 But as the enumeration of the countries and peoples 
in the Epics and Puranas is often loose, the distinction cannot be 
pushed very far, and in fact it is hardly ever accepted. In later 
literary and epigraphic records the distinction between Pundra 
and Paundra is never maintained. 

According to the Divyavadaua (pp. 21-2), Pundravardhana 
was the eastern boundary (of the Middle Country) . In the 
SumaghadMvadana of the Avadana Kalpalata (Chap. ere, v. 10), 
Pundravardhana is described as being situated 160 yojanas (or 
640 miles) to the east of Sravasti. 

It is not improbable that Pundravardhana formed a part 
of the Magadhan empire during the time of the Mauryas. This 
is suggested by the testimony of Hsiian Tsang, who saw stupas 
of Asoka near Tamralipta and Karnasuvarna in Samatata, as well 
as in Pun-na-fa-tan-na (Pundravardhana). Travelling east, Hsiian 
Tsang 'crossed the Ganges, and after a journey of above 600 H 
reached the Pun-na-fa-tan-na country. This country was above 
4,000 li in circuit and its capital was more than 30 li in circuit. 
Twenty li to the west of the capital was a magnificent Buddliist 
establishment, the name of which is given in some texts as Po- 
shih-po. Near it was an Asoka tope at the place where the Buddha 
had preached for three months'. (Watters, On Yuan Chwang, 

n, 184-5-) 

On the authority of Hsiian Tsang's description of the 
Po-shih-po monastery in Pundravardhana, Cunningham identified 
the capital of Pundravardhana with Mahasthan, saying that the 
Buddhist remains of Bhasu Vihara. 4 miles to the west of 
Mahasthan, corresponded with those noted by Hsiian Tsang at 

1 Bhlsmaparvan, IX; Sabhaparvan, l_.ll. 2 J.A.S.B., 1897, p. 85. 

3 Cunningham, Ancimt Geography of India, Majumdar, Notes, pp. 723-4. 


the Po-sfiih-po monastery, situated just 4 miles to the west of the 
capital city of Pundravardhana. 1 This conclusion is confirmed 
by the mention of ' Pundanagala ' (= Pundranagara, the city of 
the Pundras) in a fragmentary Maurya Brahmi Inscription paleo- 
graphicaily dated in the second century B.C., which has been dis- 
covered at Mahasthan, 7 miles north of the modern town of Bogra. 2 
About the second century B.C., then, the Pundras had their 
chief city at Pundranagara. Hot long after, they had spread 
over a wider area, which came to be known as Punavadhana 
(= Pundravardhana}, for the name Punavadhana occurs in at 
least two inscriptions (Nos. 102 and 217, Ep. Ind., Vol. II, pp. 108 
and 380) of the Sanchi stupa. Its inhabitants, Dhamata (Dbarma- 
datta) and Isinadana (Rsinandana), made gifts of architectural 
pieces that went to the building tip of the Sanchi stupa and its 
walls and toranm. Th.e Mahasthan fragmentary inscription proves 
that the district of Bogra was certainly included in what later 
came to be known as Pundravardhana. That it also included 
the district of Rajshahi, or at least portions of it, is proved by the 
recently discovered Paharpur copperplate (478-9 A.D.) which 
purports to have been issued from Pundravardhana city itself. 3 
But contemporaneously the term appears as the name of a bhukti 
or provincial division. Thus, in the Damodarpur (a village m the 
Dinaipur district) Copperplate Inscriptions (Ep. Ind., XV , pp. ir.rrf.) 
of Kumaragupta I (443 and 448 A.D.) and of Budhagupta, the 
Pundravardhanabhnkti is referred to as being governed successively 
by ' Ciratadatta Brahmadatta and Yayadatta, all provincial 
governors. In all these records, Kotivarsavisaya is recorded 
as a subdivision of the Pimdravardhanabhukti. But naturally 
enough it is in the epigraphic records of the Palas and Senas of ■ 
Bengal that the name most frequently occurs. Pundravardhana 
continued as in the days of the Guptas to be a provincial division 
of Bengal Among the Pala records, it is referred to m the Kriahmpiir 
grant of Dharmapala, the Nalanda grant of Devapala, the Bangarh 
grant of MahTpala I, the Amgachi grant of Vigrahapala III and 

1 A.S.R., XV, p. iro. .... . ^ r . , . 

« This inscription has been edited by D. R. Bhandarkar for the Ep. M 
Cf. also 'Mahasthan and its environs' (monograph No. 2) ; and also 1). K. 
Bhandarkar 's ' Important Fragmentaiy Inscription found at Mahasthan (Bogra 
district) belonging to the Varendra Research Society , published in the Mt« 

^T^oSKoSates (Saka year « * *• **g*^ «% G "S 

Suvama-vaTsa Pauudravardhanaiuigara is mentioned as the place Horn whicn 
the do'nec, Kesava Diksita, is said to have come (/«<. Ant.. XII, pp. z 5 m.). 


the Manhali grant of Madanapala. 1 Among the Sena grants it is 
referred to in the Barrackpur grant of Vijayasena, the Anulia, 
the Tarpanadighi, the Madhainagar and the Sunderban copper- 
plates, all of Laksmanasena, the Edilpur copperplate of Kesavasena, 
the Madanapada. and the Sahitya Parishad copperplates of 
Visvarnpasena (for Sena records, see Inscriptions of Bengal, 
Vol. Ill, Varendra Research Society). 

During the rule of the Guptas, the Pundravardhanabhukti 
included as we have seen Kotivarsavisaya, which must have in- 
cluded the whole or a part of Dinajpur. It is certain that by that 
time (c. 535-720 A.D.) Pundravardhana stood for the greater part 
of North Bengal, including at least the modern districts of Rajshahi, 
Bogra, Dinajpur, and portions probably of Maldah and Rungpur. 
But in the time of the Palas (c. 730-1060 A.D.), the Pundravardhana- 
bhukti must have comprised a larger area, while the Senas must 
have ruled over a still larger division. We are led to this con- 
clusion by the fact that the records of these two dynasties refer 
to the following subdivisions as included in the larger division 
of Pundravardhanabhukti: The Kotivarsavisaya (Dinajpur), the 
Vyaghratati mandala (Maldah), the Khadivisaya (identical with 
the Sunderbans and the 24-Parganas) , Varendri (roughly ideutical 
with Rajshahi, Bogra, Rungpur and Dinajpur), and Vahga (Eastern 
Bengal, more particularly the Dacca division). That Pundra- 
vardhana included Varendri as well as Gauda (Maldah and Dinajpur) 
is also proved by a reference in Purusottama's lexicon (eleventh 
century A.D.), where we have ' Pundrah syur Varendri-Ganda-nivrti ', 
i.e. 'the Pundras include the Varendri and Gauda (countries)'. 

The capital city of the Pundravardhanabhukti is referred to in 
the Ramacaritam of Sandhyakara ISfandi (eleventh century A.D.), 
as well as in the Karatoya Mahalmyam (sixteenth century A.D.) as 
Sri Pundravardhanapura, and also as Pundranagara. According to 
the Ramacaritam (Kaviprasasti, v. 1), Sri Pundravardhanapura 
seems to have been situated in Varendri, for it is there stated that 
Varendri was the foremost place of the east, and Pundravardhana- 
pura was its 'crest jewel', or the most beautiful ornament. 

Pundravardhana is also referred to in a picture label of a 
manuscript of the Pala period now in the Cambridge University 
Library 2 ; and the name occurs in the Dew-bhagavata , Padma, 
Matsya, Brahmanda and Markandeya Puranas, as well as in the 
Jnanarnava Tantra. According to the Rajatarangim , Paundra- 

1 For Pala Inscriptions see Gnudakkhamald (in Bengali), Varendra Research 
3 Foncher, Iconographie Bouddhique de I'Inde, p. 190. 


vardhana was the seat of government of Jayanta, a vassal chief 
of the kingdom of Gauda, when Jayaplda, king of KasinTr, is said 
to have visited it in the eighth century A.D. ; but Jayanta is not 
recognised as historical by present-day scholars. 1 Paundrabhukti, 
a shortened form of Pundra -vardhana -bhukti, is referred to in the 
Rampal copperplate of Sricandradeva, Belava copperplate of 
Bhojavarman, and Dhulla plate of 6ricandra {for these records 
see Inscriptions of Bengal, Vol. III). 

1 See Gauda chapter; Chronicles of the Kings of Kdsmir, pp. 93-4. 


The Kiratas were a non-Aryan mountain tribe, possessing 
a rude culture. They are referred to in the Mahabharata (XII, 207, 
«) together with the Yaunas or Vavanas, Kambojas, Gandharas, 
and Barbaras, who all dwelt in the northern region or Uttarapatha; 
while the Ramavana mentions them along with the Mlecchas, or 
'barbarians', another non-Aryan tribe. That the Kiratas were 
outside the Aryan fold is eyident from a passage in the Snmad- 
bMsavatam (II, 4, 18) which states that the Kiratas along with 
the Hiinas Andhras, Pulindas, Pnlkasas, Abhiras, Suhmas, Yavanas, 
Khasas' and other impure tribes purified themselves by offering 
their allegiance to Sri-Krsna. The Kiratas arc mentioned in the 
Visnitpumna (Wilson's Ed., II, pp. 156-90), in a long Ust of Indian 
peoples and countries, where they also seem to have been located 
in the northern region. 

That the Kiratas were located in the Uttarapatha seems also 
to have been attested to by Ptolemy who includes the Kirrhadai 
(or Kirrhodocis) among the tribes of Sogdiana (present-day Soghd), 
which was divided from Baktriana by the river Oxus (see 
McCrindle Ancient India, p. 277). Kirrhadia, the country of the 
Kirrhadai is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as 
lying west from the mouth of the Ganges. This reference seems to 
suggest that the Kiratas had settlements in the eastern region 
as well. Ptolemy's Kirrhadoi or Airrhadoi spread widely not 
only over Gangetic India, but also over countries farther east. 
The Mahabharata, too, seems to point to a settlement of the 
Kiratas in Kamarupa ; we are told that Bhagadatta, the powerful 
ruler of Pragjvotisa (= Kamarupa), led a mighty Mleccha army 
of Kiratas and Ci'nas in the battle of Kuraksetra. For further 
remarks on the location of the Kiratas or Kirrhadoi, see Lassen s 
Indisckes Altertlmm, Vol. Ill, pp. 235~7- L - ™ay mid 
Megasthenes also mention the tribe under the name bkyntes 
According lo Megasthenes, thev were a nomadic people ' who instead 
of nostrils have merely orifices'. They were probaly a flat-nosed 
people of primitive origin dwelling in forests and mountains and 
iivi rig bv hunting. . s 

Long assures us 1 that there is still a tradition m lnpura, 
precisely where Ptolemy place s his Kirrhadia. that the first name 
1' J.A.S.B., XIX, ' Chronicles of Tripura ', p. 536. 


of the country was Kirat. The Kiratas had an influential settlement 
in Nepal, and a Kirata dynasty of kings held the valley in sway 
in succession to the Abhiras. Sylvain hem has pointed out that 
the Nepalese usage still gives the name Kirata to the country 
between the Dudh-kosi and the Arun, and that there is evidence 
that the Kiratas once occupied a much more extensive area in Nepal. 1 

i U Nepal, II, pi>. 72^. 


If the story of Krsna's fight with the demons Muni and Naraka, 
as told in the Visnupurdna, 1 the Mahabharata? and the Hari- 
vam&a? can be interpreted as having an ethnological significance, 
then undoubtedly the Pragjyotisas were a people of non-Aryan 
extraction. The Epics definitely describe the country of Prag- 
jyotisas as an Asura or Danava kingdom ruled over by the demons, 
Naraka and Muni, with whom the leaders of Aryamsm were in 
frequent conflict. The Pauranic description of Naraka, the Asura 
leader attributes to him immense power and a strength that baffled 
and perplexed even Indra. The environs of his capital city called 
Pragjyotisapura were defended by nooses constructed by the 
demon Muru. Of course, the Aryan leader, Krsna, is described 
as having got the better of the fight with the demons, which may 
be interpreted as one of the exploits in the history of the spread 
of Arvan influence in the east. 

The Mahabhdrata in other places" refers to Pragjyotrsa as a 
Mleccha kingdom ruled over by a king named Bhagadatta who 
is always spoken of in respectful and even eulogistic terms. 
Bhagadatta is stvled a Yavana,' probably denoting that he did 
not belong to the Aryan fold. The Udyogaparvan describes 
him as the son of Naraka, the Pragjyotisa king, and as an ally of 
Duryodhana. 6 Among his retinues Bhagadatta counted the Cinas 
(the people of China),' and if the Kalayavana of the Visnupurdna 
refers to the same king , as Wilson seems to think, 8 he also ' assembled 
many myriads of Mlecchas and barbarians' among his followers. 
The Mahabhdrata mentions him as a king of boundless might 
(aparyanta-bala) ruling over (the country of) Muni and Naraka." 

i Wilson's Ed., 5, XXIX, 88fi. 

b Vamparvan SI! 48S: l^h^dparvm, XlyVlI, 1887^2. 

3 CXXI, 6791-9; CXXII, 6873, etc. 

* Sabhdparvan, XXV, rooo-i; ibid., U 1834; Udyogaparvan, CLXVI, 5804; 
KamxpamiH, V, 104-5. , . ™ J& 

'« Sabhiparvan. Xlt, 57S-5"; ibid., L, 1834-6. Chap. IV. 

* Udyogap^ran. XVIII, 584-5. 3 Wilson's Vtmupmana, Bk. V, pp. 54-5. 
» Sabhdparvan, I, 57 8 "9 : ,, ,, . , 

'Mimmca \::r:d:n \avMiadkipah 

apar\anit < ' I ' ' wyathd. 

Bhagadatta mahamjo Vrddhastavapitiih sakhd 
sa vacd pranatastasya karmand ca viiesatah' 


According to the Mahabharata, Pragjyotisa was situated in 
the northern region of India 1 ; but the Markandeya Parana places 
it in the eastern region, together with the Brahmottaras (or 
Suhmottaras), Pravijayas (perhaps Pravrseyas), Bhargavas, 
Jneyarnallakas, Madras, Videhas, Tamraliptakas, Mallas and 
Magadhas; or together with the Candresvaras, Khasas, Magadhas, 
and Lauhityas. 2 The mountainous regions called Antar-giri, Vahir- 
giri, and Upa-giri in the Mahabharata 3 appear to comprise the 
lower slopes of the Himalayas and the Nepalese Terai; and it is 
not unlikely that the Pragjyotisas lived contiguously, as Bhagadatta 
is called Sailalaya ('one whose abode is in the mountains'). 4 Accord- 
ing to the Abhidhanacintamani, Pragjyotisa was the same as 
Kamarupa, 5 though in the Raghuvam&a the Pragjyotisas and 
Kamarupas are described as two different peoples. Generally 
speaking, the two countries came in later times to be regarded 
as one and the same. In the Kali kapur ana, 8 for example, the 
capital of Kamarupa is called Pragjyotisapura, which has been 
identified with Kamakhya or G-auhatl. The Raghuvamsa seems 
to locate Pragjyotisa beyond the Brahmaputra, 7 but Kalidasa's 
knowledge of distant geographical locations is not always satis- 
factory. For all practical purposes, Pragjyotisa may, therefore, 
be identified with the whole of Assam proper, along with Northern 
Bengal as far as Rungpur and Cooch Behar, which is the territory 
comprised by Kamarupa, according to the Yoginttantra* 

King Bhagadatta, as we have seen, was a Mleccha, and his 
people also Mlecchas or Yavanas, i.e. non-Aryans, but the Ramayana 
ascribes the foundation of the kingdom to Amurtarajas, one of the 
four great sons of King Kusa— a significant Aryan name. 

According to the Brahmandapurana and the Ramayana, there 
seems to have been another Pragjyotisapura on the river Vetravati 
or Betwa. a 

The later kings of Kamarupa, who claimed to have been des- 
cended from the hue of Narakasura and Bhagadatta, figured 
prominently in Indian history. Most important of them was 
Kumara Bhaskaravarman, an ally of Harsavardhana Siladitya, 
and referred to both by Bana (in his Harsacarita) and by Hsuan 
Tsang, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim. 

1 SabM-parvan, XXV, 1000; Vanaparvan, CCLII, 15240-2. 
a Pargiter's Ed., pp. 327-30. 357- , _, BI wttt c 

3 SabhaSarvan XXV, 1000— XXVI, 1012. i Stnparvan, XXIII, 644. 

s Pmgjyolisah Kamarnpak, IV, 22. The name Karnarupa seems to have come 
into use later. . „ r ,. „_„ 

a Chap 38 7 IV, 81. 8 imp. Gaz. India, XIV, p. 331. 

■ Brahmandapurana, Chap. 27; Ramayana, Kiskindhya Kanda, Chap. 42. 


King Pralamba of Kamarupa (c. 800-825 A.D.) 1 is described 
in the Tezpur plates of his grandson as 'PragjyotisesV, i.e. 'ruler 
of Pragjyotisa'. His grandson Vanamala claims to belong to the 
line (anvaya) of the lords of Pragjyotisa, and so also does Balavarman, 
another king of the same dynasty (c. 975 A.D.). During the 
earlier half of the eleventh century A.D., the capital city 
of Pragjyotisa seems to have attained great eminence under the 
kingship of Ratnapala. In the Bargaon grant of this king, the 
city is referred to as impregnable, and rendered beautiful by the 
Lauhitya ( = Brahmaputra river?). 2 

The Kamauli grant of Vaidyadeva 3 (c. 1100) refers to the 
Mandala of Kamarupa and the Visaya of Pragjyotisa, _ which 
implies that the latter was the larger administrative division, 
including Kamarupa. 

Rajyamati, a daughter of King Harsavarman Pragjyotisa 
(according to the stray plate of King Harjara), 4 is described as 
Bhagadattarajakulaja, 5 i.e. born of the family of King Bhagadatta. 

1 J.A.S.B., 1840, IX, 2, pp. 766ft. 

2 Ibid., lScjS, T.XVII, pp. 115-8. 
a Ep. Ind., XII, pp. 3?ff. 

* I.H.Q., Dec. 1927, p. 841, f.n. 1. 

6 Ind. Ant., 1880, IX, p. 179; J.R.A.S., 1898, pp. 384-5. 



We may group together a number of lesser tribes which are 
occasionally' referred to in the Buddhist texts, particularly in the 
MaMfiarinibbana Suttanta. They may be enumerated as follows: — 
(i) The Bnlis of Allakappa. 

(2) The Koliyas of Devadaha and Ramagama. 

(3) The Moriyas of Pipphalivana. 

(4) The Bhaggas of Sumsumara Hill. 

(5) The Kalamas of Kesaputta. 1 

These five clans or tribes arc mere passing shadows in the 
early Buddhist records, there being scarcely any data for an historical 
account of them. The Mahafiarinibbana Suttanta mentions the 
Bulis of Allakappa, trie Koliyas of Ramagama and the Moriyas of 
Pipphalivana, along with the I^icchavis of Vesali, the Sakyas of and others, as so many distinct clans or corporations, 
all^of whom claimed shares of the bodily remains of the Buddha 
Gautama on tile ground that, like the deceased master, they were 
of the Ksatriya caste. 2 The claimants are said to have obtained 
their respective shares of relics, which they enshrined with cus- 
tomarv ceremonies. The Bulis of Allakappa and the Koliyas of 
Ramagama had the good fortune to obtain one share each of the 
bodily remains, while the Morivas of Pipphalivana had to be satisfied 
with a share of the ashes, as they were rather late in sending their 
messenger to Kusinara. One of their descendants (or at least a 
namesake of theirs)- -a Moriya of Pataliputra— was more fortunate. 
The existing Buddhist traditions all agree on the fact of the re- 
distribution of the relics of the Buddha (with the exception of 
those enshrined at Ramagama by the Koliyas) in the time of King 
Asoka Moriya (Maurya) . . 

The legend from the Asokavadana, as summarised by the 
late Dr Vincent Smith, is as follows: 'When King Asoka desired 
to distribute the sacred relics of the body of Buddha among the 
eightv-four thousand stiipas erected by himselt, he opened the 
stupa of the Urn, wherein King Ajatasatru had enshrined the 

1 Rhvs Davids, Buddhist h:did, p. 22. 

2 Di'gha Nikaya, II, pp. I&jg,, Buddhist Suttas, b.B.E., Vol. XI, p. 132. 


cremation relics collected from seven of the eight original stupas. 
The eighth, that at Ramagama, was defended by the guardian 
Nagas, who would not allow it to be opened. The relics thus 
withdrawn from the stupa of the Urn were distributed among 
eighty-four thousand stupas, "resplendent as the autumn clouds" 
which were erected in a single day by the descendant of the 
Mauryas.' 1 A similar legend can be gathered from the Sinhalese 
chronicles and other late Pali works, particularly Buddhaghosa's 
commentary 2 on the Mahafiarinibbana Suttanta ; while the epilogues 
attached to the Mahafiarinibbana Suttanta and the Buddhavamsa 
indicate that the sacred relics of the Buddha's body were, after 
their re-distribution, enshrined all over Northern India from 
Gandhara to Kalihga. 5 

The Mahdvamsa Commentary * furnishes us with some interest- 
ing information about the origin of the Moriyas of Pipphalivana 
and their connection with the Maurya rulers of Magadha. We 
are told that there are two theories about the derivation of the 
name Moriya. According to one theory, the name is derived 
from 'modiya', meaning pleasing or dehghtful; the Moriyas were 
a people who lived in a delightful land. According to the other, 
the name is connected with 'mora', peacock, and the people came 
to be known as Moriyas from the fact that the place where they 
founded their city always resounded with the cries of peacocks. 
Further, the city which they founded had buildings of blue stone, 
like the neck of the peacock. It is said that the Moriyas were 
originally Sakyan princes of Kapilavatthu, who escaped to the 
Himalaya regions to save themselves from the attacks of Vidudabha, 
the ambitious and cruel usurper of the throne of Kosala, and 
established a city there, building it around a lake in a forest tract 
abounding in peepul trees. 

When the Moriyas are introduced to us in the Mahaparimblav,,: 
Suttanta, they are contemporaries and powerful rivals of the Sakyas 
of Kapilavastu. Vidudabha 's invasion of Kapilavastu and _ the 
carnage committed upon its citizens took place, if the tradition 
is to be believed, shortly before the demise of the Buddha. There 
may be some truth in the suggestion that the Moriyas were in some 
way connected with the Sakyas of Kapilavastu, and with the 
advance of ethnological researches it may be found that the matri- 

1 Vincent Smith, Aioka, 2nd Ed., pp. 25r-2. 

a Suman^Lcnlasini. Burmese edition, Pt. II, pp. 183ft.; P.T.S. Ed., II, IxJQfr. 

B Digha Nikaya, II, p. 167; The Buddhavamaa and the Cariyapitaka, J.P.T.S., 
1882, p. 68; The Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon, Pt. Ill, translated by 
B. C. Law, p. 87. 

* Mahavanisa Tlka (Sinhalese edition), pp. naff. 


monial alliance of the Sakyas with the neighbouring hill peoples 
brought some new tribes into existence. 

Moreover, the Mahavamsa Commentary traces the origin of 
the Maurya rulers of Maga'dha to the Moriyas of Pipphalivana. 
According to this account, Candragupta, the founder of the Maurya 
dynasty, was born of the chief queen of the Moriyan king of 
Pipphalivana. This conflicts with the evidence of Visakhadatta's 
Mudrardksasa, where Candragupta is represented as a Vrsala, 1 
a person of low birth., an illegitimate son of the last Nanda king 
by a Sudra woman named Mum. How far Visakhadatta's account 
represents the true state of things is a controversial point. But 
there are many instances of a misconception of history resulting 
from a conjectural etymology of personal and dynastic names. 
It appears, however, that the royal family of the Nandas was 
connected by matrimonial alliance with the Moriyas of Pipphalivana ; 
and Asoka's mother, Dhamma, was also a Moriyan princess. 2 

As regards the of Kesaputta, our Information is very 
meagre. There is a bare mention of them in the Nikayas, but 
no doubt they existed at the time of the Buddha as a distinct 
tribe or clan. Their home was probably in a mountain fastness, 
not far from the upper Gangetic valley. The etymology of the 
name 'Kesaputta' indicates that the tribe traced its descent from 
the Kesins, a tribe connected with the Paficalas. 3 

Among members of the Kalama clan specially mentioned 
by name are Bharandu-Kalama,* whowas once a co-disciple of 
the Buddha (as Bodhisattva) , and Alara-Kalama, a renowned 
religious teacher, who is mentioned frequently in the Makapan- 
nibbana Suttanta B and in other Buddhist texts, ancient and modern. 
One caravan_ merchant named Pukkusa, a young Mallian, was a 
disciple of Alara-Kalama. Pukkusa laid much emphasis on the 
spiritual attainments of Kalama. He said that his preceptors 
ecstatic trance was so verv deep and profound that a long train 
of heavily laden carts passed by him without his perceiving them. 8 
The Buddhist texts represent the Kalamas as worshippers ot the 
Buddha Gautama, who was a disciple of Alara-Kalama, before 
his enlightenment.? The Buddha preached a famous sermon 
when on a visit to Kesaputta. 8 . 

Little is known of the Bulls, apart from the fact that they 
claimed and obtained one-eighth share of the Buddha s rehcs and 

1 Act III, pp. 134-6, i4*-3> etc 

2 Vamsattha-bpakasini (Mahavamsa rifcz), P.T.S., 109. 

» Vedic Intel Vol. 1, P- 4&«- . * Anguttara^,kaya\ 277 . 

» Dlgha Xikdya, II, pp. 130-1. 6 Buddhist Sulfas, S BJS \<A. XI, y6. 

1 Kot, Manual of Indian Buddhism, p. 18. > Angutiara Mkaya, I, 188 i. 


raised a stupa over them in their city of Allakappa. 1 Their 
territory was probably near Vethadipa, for the king of Allakappa 
is mentioned 2 as being in intimate relationship with the king of 

The Koliyas were one of the republican clans in the time of 
the Buddha, and owned two chief settlements — one at Ramagama 
and the other at Devadaha. The commentaries contain accounts 
of the origin of the Koliyas. For instance, the Sumangalavilasini 5 
states that the eldest of the five daughters of Okkaka contracted 
leprosy (kuttharoga). Her four brothers, being afratd of infection, 
took her to a forest and there confined her in an underground 
chamber. Rama, king of Benares, contracted the same complaint 
at this time, entered the forest, and cured himself by eating wild 
fruits and leaves. Hearing the voice of a woman one night, he 
discovered the princess in her underground chamber. He cured 
her by means of the fruits and leaves which had cured him, and 
then married her. He built a town in the forest, removing a big 
Kola tree in order to do so. Inasmuch as the town was built on 
the site of the Kola tree, it came to be called Kolanagara, and the 
king's descendants were known as Koliyas. 

We find a variant of the story in the Mahavastuf- which tells 
us that the daughter of a certain Sakya noble was attacked with 
leprosy. The physicians failed to cure her; sores appeared all 
over her body, and the people began to hate her. She was taken 
by her brothers in a palanquin to a spot close to the Himalayas. 
They dug out a subterranean room, and she was left there with 
plenty of food and water. They blocked up the entrance to the 
cave with planks, and put a large heap of dust in front of it, and 
then returned to Kapilavastu. After living in the stuffy room 
for some time, she resumed her former beauty, for the heat had 
cured her of leprosy. Now, not far from the cave lived a royal 
sage named Kola. 6 While wandering about in the vicinity of 
his hermitage, Kola came to the cave where the Sakya girl lived, 
and saw a tiger scratching up the heap of dust with its feet. His 
curiosity was aroused ; the sage drove away the tiger, removed the 
planks, and opened the door of the cave, revealing the Sakya girl. 
Seeing her exquisite beauty, the sage became very much attached 
to her, and took her along to his hermitage. Sixteen pairs of 
twin sons were born to the couple. When these sons were grown 
up, they were sent to Kapilavastu by their mother, who told them 

1 Digha Nikaya, II, p. 167. 2 Dhammapada Comm., I, 161. 

3 Pt. I, pp. 260-2. * Vol. I, pp. 352-5. 

6 A variant of Rama; Kola also is stated to have been a king of Benares. 


that they would there be provided for by their uncles, who were 
Sakya nobles. She trained them in the manners of the Sakyas, 
and they were then allowed to set out. They saluted their parents 
and went to Kapilavastu. On arriving, the sons of the sage, 
surrounded by a vast crowd, went to the assembly hall of the 
Sakyas, where five hundred Sakyas were assembled and transacting 
business. They approached the assembly in the way their mother 
had taught them. The Sakya assembly was astounded to see the 
Sakya manners in them, and asked them whence they came. They 
answered as they had been instructed, 'We are sons of Kola, the 
royal sage, who has his hermitage somewhere at the foot of the 
Himalayas. Our mother is the daughter of a certain Sakya.' 
Hearing this, the Sakyas were pleased to learn that the youths 
were born of the royal sage, and not of some one of inferior rank. 
Recognising them as Sakyas, they said, 'Let them be given Sakya 
girls and appointments.' They were given Sakya brides, cultivable 
lands, and villages. As the princes were sons of the sage Kola, 
thev were known as Koliyas. 

It is stated in the Introduction to the Kunala Jataka * that 
the Kolivas used to dwell in the Kola tree. Hence they came 
to be called 'Kolivas' or dwellers in Kola (jujube) trees. When 
the Sakyas wished to abuse the Koliyas, they said that the latter 
had once 'lived like brute beasts in a hollow- Kola tree'. The 
territories of the Sakvas and Koliyas were adjacent, being separated 
by the river Rohim A bitter quarrel once arose between the 
two tribes regarding the right to the waters of the river which 
irrigated the land on both sides. Incensed by insulting remarks 
as to their respective origins, the two tribes got themselves ready 
for battle, and sallied forth at eventide. Now at this time, so 
the story goes, the Buddha came to the spot from Savatthi, and 
sat cross-legged in the air between the two hosts. The Sakyas 
recognised him and at once threw down their arms with the words, 
'Let the Koliyas slay us or roast us alive.' The Koliyas, on seeing 
the Buddha, acted in the same way. The Lord instructed them, 
quelled the feud and brought about a reunion. In gratitude, each 
tribe dedicated some of its young men to the membership of the 
Order, and during the Buddha's stay in the neighbourhood, he 
lived alternately in Kapilavastu and in Koliyanagara. 2 

1 lataka, Fatisboll, V, p. 413. 

2 For details of the quarrel and its results, see Jataka, \ , 4126*. ; Dhammapaaa 
Comm. Ill 254ft.; S-amangalarildsim, II, 672ft- A vanant of the nver-motit 
runs as follows: 'When the female slaves of the Sakyas and Koliyas came to the 
river to fetch water, and throwing the coils of cloth that they earned on their 
heads upon the ground, were seated and pleasantly conversing, a certain woman 



The Mahdvastu tells us that there was a Koliya prince who 
aspired to rival the Buddha in the art of arrow-shooting, but he, 
together with others, was defeated. 1 

In the Uddna we read of Suppavasa. daughter of the king 
of the Koliyas (' Koliyadhita') , who was helped by the Buddha 
when she was suffering, and who, after a healthy son had been 
born to her, entertained the Buddha and Sariputta at her house. 2 

It is stated in the Mahdparinibbana Suttanta that the inhabitants 
of Ramagama belonged to the serpent race. s According to 
Cunningham, 4 Ramagama (Ramagrarna) is identical with Deokali; 
some scholars hold that the Koliyas of Ramagama originally came 
from the same ethnic group as the Koliyas of Devadaha. There 
are no historical data for ascertaining the political relations of the 
Koliyas of Ramagama and the Sakyas. 

Several other townships of the Koliyas, visited by the Buddha 
or by his disciples, are mentioned in literature; e.g. Uttara, the 
residence of the headman _ Pataliya 5 ; Sajjanela, residence of 
Suppavasa 6 ; Sapuga, where Ananda once stayed 7 ; Kakkarapatta, 
where Dlghajanu lived 8 : and Haliddavasana , residence of the 
ascetics Punna Koliyaputta and Seniya. 9 

The Bhaggas (or Skt. Bhargas) were a republican tribe of 
Northern India in the Buddha's time (sixth century B.C.). They 
are mentioned not only in Buddhist works, but also in Sanskrit 
works of the Bmhmana and Epic periods. The earliest mention 
of the Bhargas is made in the Aitareya Brahmana (VIII, 28) where 
reference is made to a Bhargayana prince named Kairisi Sutvan. 
The> r are also referred to by Panini in his Astddhydyi (IV, i, I7$}> 
where they are associated with the Yaudheyas (' na firdcya Bhargadi 
Yaudheyddihhyah'). In the Bhismaparvan 10 of the Mahdbhdrata, 
mention is made of the Bhargas along with other tribes, e.g. the 
Andhras, Kiratas, Kosalas, Gandharas, Sauviras, Sindhus, etc. 
In both the Mahdbhdrata proper n and the Harivainsa,™ the 

took another's cloth, thinking that it was her own; and when owing to this a 
quarrel arose, each claiiiiiii" the coil of cloth as hers' gradually the people of the 
two cities, the serfs and the labourers, the attendants, herdsmen, councillors and 
viceroys, all of them sallied forth ready for battle. ' 

1 Makavavu, ed. -Pen art, II, pp. 76-7. 2 Uddna, P.T.S., pp. 15-18- 

8 Digha Nikaya (P.T.S.), Vol. II, p. 167. 

4 Anc. Gei^yuphy of India, p. 423. 5 SamyuUa Nikaya, IV, 340- 

6 AnguUara Nikaya, II, 62. 7 Ibid., 194. 8 Ibid., IV, 281. 

B Majjhima Nikaya, I, 387; see also SamyuHa Nikaya, V, 115. 

10 Chap, 9, p. 822. 

11 Vatsabkumiuca Kai!ul<:y<> rijigye httlavan balat 
Bkarganamadhipauanv:!. Nis:ij~iJhip:<liin lalhd. — Mbh., II, 30, 10, 11. 

» 29, 73. 


Bhargas are associated with the Vatsas, as well as with the Nisadas 
(II 30, 10-11). The Harivamta tradition describes the Bharga 
and the Vatsa as the two sons of Pratardana. Attention may 
also be drawn here to the mention of a people called 'Bhargavas' 
in the Puranas, e.g. in the Markandeya Parana (LVII, 43}. The 
Bhargavas are also mentioned in the Bfasmaparvan (IX, 358) 
where the Bhargas also find mention (cf. Pargiter, Mark. P., 
pp. 310 note and 327-8, note). It is likely that the Bhaggas, 
Bhargas and Bhargavas are one and the same people. 

The epic tradition of the close association of the Bhargas with 
the Vatsas is corroborated by the Buddhist tradition as recorded 
in the Jatahas. The DJlonasaMa Jitaha (No. 353) states that 
Prince Bodhi. son of Udavana, king of the Vatsas, had his dwelling- 
place on the Sumsumara Hill, where he bnilt a palace called 
Kokanada. It seems that in Udayana's time (i.e. the sixth century 
B.C.), the Bhagga State was under the suzerainty of the Vatsa 

nS The Bhaggas of the Sumsumara Hill are casually referred to 
in some suttas of the Majjhima and Samyutta Ntkayas.' There 
is no doubt that the Sumsumara Hill, their capital, was used as 
a fort It was situated in a deer park at Bhesakalavana. In 
the lifetime of the Buddha, Prince Bodhi, son of Udena (Udayana), 
ruled over the Bhaggas, apparently as his father s Viceroy. He 
became a follower of the Buddha." When the Buddha was amongst 
the Bhaggas, the householder Nakulapita came to him and asked 
for instruction, afterwards becoming one of the devotees of the 
Master at Bhesakalavana." The Bhagga country lay between 
Vesali and Savatthi> In the Apaiana,' the Bhaggas are men- 
tioned with the Karusas. . . . 

The social customs, religious beliefs, laws and administrative 
systems of these minor clans were in all likelihood the same as, 
or similar to, those of the more important tribes dealt with in 
other chapters. 

. M.jjUm* NOfy: Vol- I. W. .W-8; Vol. II, It. I, pp. 91-7: «*»»" 
N '"*fiSal?iS«,«^- NiU,«, Vol. II, p. ,r: Fa-Mi,/** 
Vol. Ill, p. 157. 

s Samvuna Sikl\tt Pt. Ill, pp. i~5- T , r „„,w,,„, 

History of India (I, r 75 ) says that the Bhaggas were members of the Vajjian 
confederacy ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ „ „, , IV , s 

etc.; Vinaf.Pit.ho, II, a,; IV, 115, 198; V. .45: Ther^h. C-", I, ?«■ J* 
also B C. haw, Countries mi Peoples oj Ind.a (Epic and Paaramc sources), 
A.B.O.R.I., Vol. XVTI. Pt. Ill, Apnl, 1936. 


Name and Origin 

The Licchavis were a great and powerful people of Eastern 
India in the sixth century B.C. Their peculiar form of government, 
their free institutions, their manners and customs, their religious 
views and practices afford us glimpses of India of the transition 
period, when the ancient Vedic culture was developing in new 
directions, and undergoing a transformation under the influence of 
the speculative activity out of which emerged the two great religions 
of Jainism and Buddhism. Fortunately for us, Buddhist literature, 
and to a lesser extent the Jaina sacred books, have preserved 
for us facts and comments, which, though fragmentary, are yet 
sufficient to give us a living picture of this interesting people. 
From the account of their political institutions that can be gleaned 
from the Pali Buddhist Canon, we obtain an insight into the demo- 
cratic ideas of statecraft and government that prevailed among 
the majority of the Aryan clans that peopled Northern India before 
the imperialistic policy grew and developed. 

In Indian literature we find the name of this people in slightly 
varying forms — Licchavi, Licchivi, Lecchavi, Lecchai and so on. 
Throughout the Pali Canon, the name occurs in the form'Licchavi'. 
In some of the Buddhist Sanskrit texts, e.g. the Divyavadana, 1 
the name is foimd in this form, but in others, e.g. the Mahavastu, 
the usual form is lecchavi.* In the Chinese translations of the 
Buddhist sacred books, the name occurs in both forms, Licchavi 
and Lecchavi, 3 as is to be expected, since these translations 
are based on the Buddhist Sanskrit texts. The Mahavastu form 
Lecchavi answers very well to the Prakrit form Lecchai, which 
we find in another set of works claiming to be contemporaneous 
in origin with the Buddhist Canon, namely, the Jaina sacred litera- 
ture which, according to some scholars, began to be composed 
perhaps by the direct disciples of Mahavira in the first century 
after his death, or at the latest in the next century, by the time 

■ Divvavatluna, ed. E. B. Covvell and R. A. Neil, pp. 
: Mahdw'-iiii , ed. ¥,. Sonart, Vol. I, p. 254, etc. 
J T. Watters, On Yuan Ckwang, Vol. II, p. 77. 


of Candragupta Maurya, when the first Council of the Jains was 
held at Pataliputra. 1 

In the Sutrakrtanga, one of the earliest works of the Jaina 
sacred literature, we meet with the name Lecchai, 2 and the same 
form occurs in the Kalpasutra attributed to, who is 
considered to have been a contemporary of Candragupta (c. 321-297 
B.C., according to Rapson, Ancient India, p. 182). The Jain 
commentators equate the Prakrit Lecchai with Sanskrit Lecchaki. s 
In the form LecchakI, however, the name never occurs in Sanskrit 
literature, in which the earliest mention of the tribe, so far as we 
have been able to ascertain, is in Kautilya's Arthaiastra, where 
they are called Licchivis. Here we read that the corporations of 
Licchivi, Vrji, Malla, Madra, Kukura, Kuru, Pancala and others 
were 'rajasabdopajivinah', i.e. enjoyed the status of rajas or kings.* 
We next find the Liccha'vis mentioned in the Manava Dharmaiastra 
(X, 22). Here there are some varies lectiones; the anonymous 
Kashmirian comment on the text reads L/ichavi which approximates 
very closely to the Buddhistic form. Medhatithi and Govindaraja, 
the two earliest commentators, read Licchivi, and this reading 
tallies exactly with the name as given by Kautilya; this form, 
therefore, represents the earliest spelling of the word in the Brah- 
manic Sanskrit literature. Kulluka Bhatta, the Bengali com- 
mentator, however, reads Nicchivi, and Raghavananda, another 

1 M Winternitz, Geschichte der Indiscken Litt&ratur, II, p. 295. 

2 Kalpasutra paragraph 128. S 1 Iihavnagar edition, p. 192; 
see also Jaina Sutras by H. Jacobi, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, p. 266, f.n. 1 ; Vol. XIV, 
part II, p. 321, f.n. 3. 

a Jaina Stems, Jacobi, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, part I, p. 266, f.n. r. 

* See Kautilva's Arthaiastra, translated by R. Sbama Shastn, p. 455. The 
Sanskrit to-it has- ' Licchivika-Vrjika-MaUaka-Madraka-Kukura-Ku ■■•■.-.■ 
rajaiabdopapvinah: The ' ka ' at the end of Licchivi, etc., is adjectival. It will 
be noted that Kautilva distn-iihes the Licchivis from the \qis. ^gardrng 
this H. Pandav {'Xotes on the Vajji country and the Mallas of Pava J.BO.KS 
Vol VI pt II Tone 1920 pp. 259 et seq.) says that it appears from the Pali 
Suttas that the 'names Vajji and Licchavi are interchangeable to some extent. 
The accounts of Chinese pilgrims, however, point to a different conclusion. Mien 
calls the countrv of which Vaisali was the capital, 'the kingdom of Vaisali and 
the people of the country, 'Licchavis'. He does not mention \r]i or \aju. Hsuan 
Tsang describes Vaisali and Vrji as two distinct countries, and Watters "inched 
to doubt the accuracv of his description of the Vrji county, Ray Chaudhun 
reconciles the evidence of the Pali literature with that of Kautilya and Hsuan 
Tsang, saving: 'Vajji was not only the name of the confederacy but also of one 
of the constituent clans. But the Vajjis like the L:ccha,-is are sometimes associated 
with the city of Vesali which was not only the capital of the Licchavi clan, but 
also the metropolis of the entire confederacy-. •-{Political History oj Ancient India, 
4th Ed., p, ioi.) 


commentator, follows him in this as in other matters; and the 
ordinary printed editions of the Manusamhitd have generally adopted 
this reading. 1 Both Jolly and Biihler have accepted the form 
Licchivi, but Jolly cites two MSS. and five printed editions with the 
form 'Nicchivi'. Kulluka, who probably wrote in the fifteenth 
century, i.e. about 600 years later than Medhatithi, and about 
300 years later than Govindaraja, was probably misled by the 
similarity of the letters 'N' and '1/ as they were written in Bengali 
in the fifteenth century, and as they are still written even in modern 
Bengali manuscripts. 2 

The Sanskrit inscriptions of the early Gupta emperors favour 
the form 'Licchavi'. I n the Allahabad Stone Pillar Inscription 
of Samudragupta, that monarch is described as ' Licchavidauhitra ', 
'the son of the daughter of the Licehavis', 3 so we have here 
the same form as in the Pali Buddhist works. The same form 
occurs in many other inscriptions of the Guptas, for example, 
in the Mathura Stone Inscription of Candragupta II, 4 the Bilsad 
Stone Pillar Inscription of Kumara Gupta of the year 96 E and the 
Bihar Stone Pillar Inscription of Skandagupta. 8 On the other 
hand, the variant Licchivi occurs in the Bhitari Stone Pillar In- 
scription of Skandagupta 7 and the Gaya. Copperplate Inscription 
of Samudragupta 8 (which is considered to be spurious). Some 
coins of Candragupta I bear the name-Licchavi. Moreover, in the 
inscriptions of the Nepal kings, who claim to be descended from 
the family of the Licchavis, the expression used is always 
Licchavikitla-ketu , 'the banner for glory) of the Licchavi family'. 9 
We have seen that in the Chinese translations which are based on 
Sanskrit Buddlust texts, the form is Licchavi or Lecchavi ; Fa-Hien 
speaks of them as Licchavis, 10 while in Hstian Tsang (Beal's Records 
of the Western World) the form is Li-ch'e p'o, which would corre- 
spond to the form Licchavi." The Tibetans, who began to have 

1 For the various readings see Manava DliarmaSustra, ed. J. Jolly, p. 325- 
See also Lavs of Mann, Biihler, S.H.R., Vol. XXV, p. 406, n. 

2 E. D. Banerjee, The Origin of Ike Bengali Script, Cal. Univ., 1919, p. 82, 
pp. 108-9. I* is clear, however, that the form Nicchivi is a very old reading, a* 
it occurs in the Sinhalese Atthakatha, which forms the basis of Buddhaghosa's 

3 Inscriptions of the Early Gupta Kings, ed. J. F. Fleet— Carpus Inscriptionum 
Tmlicarum, Vol. Ill, p. 8. 

« Ibid., p. 27. s Ibid., p. 43. e Ibid., p. 5°- 

' Ibid., p. 53. a Ibid., p. 256. 

8 Ibid., p. 177 f .n. ; Indian A niiqitary, Vol. IX, pp. i68fF. 

10 Legge, Fa-Hien, pp. 71, 76. 

11 Buddhist Records of the Western World, by S. Beal, Vol. II, p. 73. 


the Buddhist books translated into their own language from the 
eighth century A.D., also have the form Licchavi. 1 

There is clear evidence in the Buddhist literature to show that 
the Licchavis belonged to the Aryan ruling caste — the Ksatriya. 
In the Mahdparinibbana Suttanta we read that after the decease of 
the Buddha, the Licchavis claimed a share of the remnants of his 
body. They sent a messenger to the Mallas of Kusinara, where he 
had'died, saying : ' The Exalted One was a Ksatriya and so are we. 
We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Exalted 
One.' 2 Here we see that the claim of the Licchavis was based on 
the fact that they were Ksatriyas or people of the same caste as the 

Moreover, we are told that a Licchavi named Mahali says, ' I 
am a Khattiya (Ksatriya), so is the Buddha''; while in the in- 
troduction to the Sigala Jataka we read of a Licchavi girl, 'the 
daughter of a Ksatriya and high-born'. 4 Dr. Richard Fick in his 
work, The Social Organisation in North-East India m Buddha s 
Time, is rather sceptical as to whether the word Ksatriya as used 
in the Pali texts has exactly the same connotation as in the ancient 
Brahmanical literature; but Professor Oldenberg observes" that 
there is no ground for this scepticism. 

That the Licchavis were Ksatriyas appears also from the Jama 
sacred literature. Just as the Licchavis of Vaisall honoured the 
Buddha at his death by erecting a noble monument HM over 
their share of the remnants of his body, so they had, before this, 
done honour to the memory of Mahavira, the founder of Janusm. 
The Kalpasiitra narrates: 'In that night in which the venerable 

ascetic Mahavira died the eighteen confederate kings ot Kasi 

and Kosala, the nine Mallakis and nine Licchavis, on the day of 
new moon, instituted an illumination on the Poshadha, which 
was a fasting day ..,.'« The Jaina works further tell us, as Professor 
Jacobi points out, that these nine Licchavis were tributary to 
Cetaka, king of Vaisali and maternal uncle of Mahavira,' wh o was 

^Tibetan oiim. quoted by Rocthffl m his Life of the Buddha (pp. 07 el seq.) ; 
Taranalla's Gachichte des Buddhisms in India, translated into fiennan by Anton 
^"SK^f T.S.. Vol. II, pp. X64 * »,. «. Prof, and Mrs. R.ys 

Davids, in Dialogue's of the Buddha, Vol, III, p. 187. 

3 Suman%altivilnsini , Pt. I, P.T.S., p. 312. 

4 jatuha, ed. V. Fausboll, Vol. II, p. 5- „ ,. ' , _ . m 7 n , f r 

a Prof. H. Oldenberg, On the History ,j the luauui L -f , Sys U m / .OA /A-, 
Vol. LI; translated into Inglish by Prof. H. C. Chakladar, Int. Ant., Vol. XLIX, 

^T^L^pSrapb «8. trsi. Prof. H. Jacobi, S.B.K., Vol. XXII, p. *. 
7 Jacobi, op. cit., note I, p. 266. 


a Tflatii Ksatriya of the Kasyapa gotra as we read in the 
KaSSto*. ' There are reasons to believe that Mahavira was a 
native of a subnrb of VaisaH.' That the Licchavis were looked 
npon as persons of high pedigree appears from a passage m another 
Jaina work, the Sntrakrlanga, where we read of the renowned gotra 
(family) of the Licchavis.* 

The Licchavis were Ksatriyas of the Vasisfha gotm and were 
addressed as 'Vasisthas- by the Buddha (Mahavastu-Avadma, 
ed Senart Vol I p. 283, and elsewhere) and by Maudgalayana, 
one oftfe piuarsrf the' Buddhist Chnreh (Rockhill, W,°fO, 

Buddha, pp. 95*)- Farther - the Jama Sacred , W " kS S f r C t t 
the Ksatrivani Trisala, mother of Mahavira, and sister of Cetaka, 
one of the kings of Vaisali, belonged to the Vasistha ™fw." 

In the Nepal Vamiavali, the Licchavis are allotted to the 
Sflryavamsa or solar race of the Ksatriyas.* This is quite m 
agreement with the fact elicited from the Buddhist records that 
they were Vasisthas by gotm, for we know from the Altareya 
BrShmana that the gotm or pravara (family) of a Ksatriya is the 
same as 'that of his purohita or family priest.' Sir R G. Bhandarkar 
also points out that the gotm of a Brahmana could be assumed 
for sacrificial purposes by a Ksatriya, for, according to Asmlayaim 
(Sr S XII, 15), the gof™ and the ancestors of the Ksatriyas invoked 
are those of their priests or chaplains, and the only Rsi ancestors 
that all the Ksatriyas have, are Manava, Aila and Paururavasa. 
The names of these do not distinguish one Ksatriya family from 
another, and to answer the purposes of such a distinction, the 
gotm and ancestors of the priest are assumed ".■ The Vasistha 
gotm was, therefore, the gotra of their family priest, and we know 
that the Vasisthas were the family priests of the kings of the solar 
race especially of the Iksvakus. In this connection it is interesting 
to note Prof. Jacobi's observation: 'According to the Jainas the 
Licchavis and Mallakis 7 were the chiefs of Kasi and Kosala. lhey 
seem to have succeeded the Aiksvakas who ruled there in the times 

1 Kalpasiitra, pp. x-xii. 

2 Tacobi. louta Saim, Part II, S.B.E., Vol. XI.V, p. 321. 

> S.B.E., Vol. XXII, p. xri. See Jacobi, Jaina Saras, S.B.E., Vol. xxii, 
p. 193 {Ayartinga-sutra, 11. 15. 15). 

* Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXXVII, p. 79. 

5 Aitareva Brdiim'ano, Ch. 34, Kanda 7 verse 25. . 

• Sir R~ G. Bhandarkar, Vaimavtsm, Saivism, and minor Religious Systems, 

*' ' The kinship of Licchavis and Maitas is confirmed by the MakatarinMam 
si,T.'-;:.': S tva Sottas, S.B.E., Vol. XI, pp. MM), and the S**gto ***• » 
the Digha Xikdya [Dialogues of Ike Buddha, Pt. Ill, p. 202), where the Malias a.c 
likewise addressed as ' Vasetthas ' (=Vasisthas). 


of the Ramayana. ' l The Ramdyana tells us that the city of 
Vaisali was founded by Visala, a son of Iksvaku and the heavenly 
nymph Alamvusa, 2 while the Visnupurdna substitutes Trnabindu, 
a later member of the Iksvaku family, as the father of the epony- 
mous hero who founded the city. This shows that the ruling 
family of Vaisali was traditionally believed to have been descended 
from the Iksvakus. , 

The Licchavis were also associated with the bakyas. We 
read in the Karma-Sataka ' that Prabodha, king of the Vrjis, gave 
away his two daughters, Maya and Mahamayi, as brides to 
Suddhodana, son of Simhahanu, and father of the Buddha. Rock- 
hill in his Life of the Buddha (derived from Tibetan works) speaks 
of a tradition, according to which the Sakyas and the Licchavis 
were branches of the same people.* , 

We now come to the mythical account of the origin ot the 
Licchavis, which can be gathered from Buddhaghosa's Pammat- 
thajotikd on the Khuiddkapithd. It came to pass that the chief 
queen of the king of Benares was with child. "When her time came, 
she was delivered, not of a child, but of a lump of flesh, of the 
colour of lac and of baudhu and jlvaka flowers'. Fearing the 
displeasure of the king if he should hear of this, the other queens 
put the lump of flesh into a casket marked with the royal seal 
and placed it on the flowing waters of the Ganges. However, a 
certain god, wishing to provide for its safety, wrote with a piece 
of cinnabar on a slip of gold the words 'The child of the chief queen 
of the King of Benares', tied it to the casket, and replaced it rn 
the river. The casket was discovered by an ascetic, and taken 
bv him to his hermitage, where he cared for the lump of flesh. 
After the lapse of some time, the lump broke up into two pieces 
of flesh, which gradually assumed shape, till finally one of them 
became a boy resplendent like gold, and the other a girl. What- 
ever entered the stomach of these two infants looked as if put into 
a vessel of precious transparent stone (mani) so that they seemed 
to have no skin (mcchavi). Others said: "Die two were attached 
to each other by their skin (lina-chavl) as if they had been sewn 
together'; so that these infants came to be designated Licchavis . 
The ascetic, having to nurse these two children, had to enter the 
village in the early morning for alms and to return when the day 
was far advanced. Accordingly the neighbouring cowherds, seeing 

■ Jacobi, Jnm Sam,, ft. II, p- 331, note $. 

'2 R7;>avma Bombay edition. Bala Kar.da. Lluip. 47. ^— ■ ~ .• -- 

» Roekbffl, Life of the Buddkt (popular edition), p. 203, note. 


out a city, and tint al the ™«^ n cowherds. 

fE^paxe^o^otne^ten would say /These children 
harass the others aud trouble them, they ate not to be kept, they 
must be abandoned (VajjitahbaV Thenceforward that country 
Measuring 300" jana is called Vajji. Then the cowherds securing 
Se king's permission, obtained that country and measuring out 
a town there they anointed the boy king. After giving the girl 
in Zrriage t„ the boy, who was then sixteen years of age the 
o"d S™ made it a rule that no bride was to be brought m from 
outside noTany girl from within the settlement to be given away 
Sat Sixteen ?airs of twins were born to the couple (a boy 
and a girl each time), and as these children were growing up, and 
there was no room in the city for their gardens, pleasure groves 
residential houses and attendants, three walls; were thrown up round 
the city at a distance of a quarter of a yojana from each other 
as the city was thus again and again made lalger Visallkata), it 
came to be called Vesall. This is the history of Vesah.' 

The PMMvaliya? a Ceylonese Buddhist work, gives the same 
account with slight variations. These stories are, of course entirely 
mythical and must have grown up in recent times, there being no 
evidence in the sacred canon itself to corroborate any part ot tnem 

The two derivations of the name Licchavi which arc suggestea 
by Buddhaghosa are entirely fancifld. Licchavi is the name ot a 
race or tribe. The people must have acquired that name long 
before they come to our notice in the pages of the Buddhist or Jama 
literature, or in the AHhaiastra. Buddhaghosa's derivations must 
have been invented much later, when the Iicchavis had acqmreo 
renown and power, and it was thought necessary to tad some 
meaning for the word, which defies easy analysis. It should oe 
observed that the two derivations suggested by Buddhaghosa are 
almost identical with those given in Chinese Buddhist works, 
indicating a common source. _ v , 

It is clear that at the time the Buddha and Mahayira liven 
and preached, the Iyicchavis were recognised as Ksatnyas wttn 

1 Paramattlutjotiftd on the Khuddakapatha. ed. H. Smith, P.T.S., pp. 158-60. 

* Spence Hardv, Manual <// Buddhism, 2nd Ed., 1880, pp. 242-3- 

a shan-hsien-lii (Chap. 8), T. Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 77- 


whom the highest-bom princes of eastern India considered it an 
honour to enter into matrimonial alliance. The powerful king 
Ajatasatru was alwavs designated ' Vedehiputto', the family name 
of his mother in the Pali Buddhist Tripitaka. Even two centuries 
later in the time of Candragupta Maurya, the licchavis were of equal 
rank'and position with the great Ksatriya peoples of Northern India, 
viz the Madras in the north-west, the Kuru-Pancatas m the central 
reinon and the Mallas and others in the east— the tnbes who were 
organised as corporations of warriors and lived upon their position 
as rajas, that is as owners of land deriving an income from their 

At the time when the present code of Manu was composed, 
we find that the Licchavis were still looked upon as Ksatnyas, 
though of theVratya variety. 1 Regarding the Vratyas Manu 
says- 'Those (sons) whom the twice-born have by wives of equal 
caste but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from 
the Savitri, one must designate by the appellation Vratyas. 
Here 'not fulfilling their sacred duties' stands for ' avratcth , which 
means 'not being initiated at the proper time', on the authonty 
of what Manu himself states in an earlier chapter, where he hxes 
the upper limits of the age before which the initiation of the twice- 
born castes must take place. After those periods, men of the 
three upper castes who had not received the sacrament become 
VrSlym (outcastes) excluded from the Savitri (initiation) and 
despised by the Aryans. Here Manu is in agreement with the 
earlier lawgivers, Gautama, Apastamba, Vasistha and Baudhayana. 
There is no question, then, that the Licchavis were pure Ksatnyas 
by origin but were not very careful in obeying the regulations 
about initiation and perhaps similar other matters. 

From what we know of the religious history of the Licchavis 
as a people, it is natural to expect that they would depart from the 
strict observance of the Brahmanic regulations. We have seen 
that Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, was of their very- to^WXi 
we also know that he had many followers among the residents of 
Vaisali, even among the highest officers. Then again, between 
the sixth century B.C. and 2 oo B.C., the earhest estimated date 

i Manu X, 22; Biialer, Laws of Manu, p. 406. 

' Manu, X, 20; Bihlei, laws of Manu. pp. V5'>'- . , 

■ Sec Biihlcr, Laws of Manu, pp. 405-6, «<* 20; Gautama, XXI, H , Apa., 1, 

"■ ^jJfcS B£££££3- V**-. - * ?: Ha», O. M* 

Sastri'. Annual Address. J.A.S.B.. 1921, No. 2 (Vol. XVII, Ne» Senes). 


of the ManusamhM? the Licchavis had won the good graces of 
the Buddha as well as of the followers of the religion he preached, 
as we Shan see later. During this long interval when the two 
greaT' heretic 'faiths flourished in their country, it is but natural 
to expect that the Licchavis were not over-particular about untla- 
t°on and similar other ceremonies and practices that the regulations 
rf the or hodox Brahmins required. Hence wc can understand 
how Mann the great Brahmin law-giver, came to refer to the 
Ucchavis as Vratyas. To claim the authority of this passage of 
ManuS support of a theory of non-Aryan origin of the Licchavis 

"^"aboTe^cussion, we hope, will also explain what the 
lexicographers and the author of the Vaijayantl following Mann, 
dedare regarding the origin of the Ucchavis, viz. that they were 
sons of a Ksatriya Vratya and a Ksatnya." 

Before leaving the question of origin, we must refer to the 
two theories about the Tibetan and Persian affinities of the Ucchavis 
originated by the late Drs. V. A. Smith and Satis Or Vldyabhusana 
respectively Dr. Smith's conclusion about the Tibetan affinity 
rests on the agreement that is observed between the Tibetans and 
the Licchavis in the custom of exposure of the dead and in judicial 
procedure We shall discuss these two points separately 

The prevalence among the Licchavis of the practice of exposing 
the dead to be devoured bv wild animals is vouched for by a passage 
in Beal's Romantic Legend 0/ Sdkya Buddha,' derived from Chinese 
sources There we have a description of a visit paid by the Bodtu- 
sattva (future Buddha) to a cemetery at Vaisali, where the Rsis 
are stated to have told him: 'In that place the corpses of men arc 
exposed to be devoured by the birds; and there also they collect 

and pile up the white bones of dead persons ; they burn corpses 

there also and preserve the bones in heaps. They hang dead 
bodies also from the trees; there are others buried there, such as 
have been slain or put to death by their relatives, dreading that 
thev should come to life again; whilst others are left there upon 
the'ground that thev may return, if possible, to their former bodies 
Dr Smith argues that this passage ' proves a belief that the ancient 
inhabitants of Vaisali disposed of their dead sometimes by exposure, 
sometimes by cremation, and sometimes by burial. The tradition 
is supported by the discoveries made at prehistoric cemeteries in 

1 According to Biituer, the Manusmrli was compiled at some time between 
200 B.C. and 200 A.D. (Buhler, Manit, Introduction, p. cxvii). 

a Moniei Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, 1899, p. 9 02 : vaipyam, 
ed. Gustav Oppert, p. 76. 

3 pp. I59~6°- 


other parts of India, which disclose very various methods of dis- 
posing of the dead.' 1 He then concludes from the similarity 
between these customs of the disposal of the dead, and those of 
Tibet, that the Licchavis had Tibetan affinities. But we need 
not go to Tibet for these customs, inasmuch as they were prevalent 
among the Vedic Aryans from whom the Licchavis were descended. 
We read in the well-known funeral hymn of the Atharvaveda a : 
'They that are buried, and they that are scattered (vap) away, 
they" that are burned and they that are set up (uddhita) — all those 
Fathers, O Agni, bring thou to eat the oblation'. 5 Whitney, whose 
translation of the verse we have quoted here, observes on the 
expression Uddhitah, 'it evidently refers to exposure on something 
elevated, such as is practised by_many people'. 4 Whitney also 
refers to an analogous passage in Apastamba {I, 87) which contains 
a further reference to the customs of burial and exposure on a raised 
platform. 5 The Vedic literature shows that cremation was one 
of the methods of the disposal of the dead. Methods other than 
cremation were in vogue, it seems, in particular localities and among 
particular classes or peoples; and the custom of exposure of the 
dead was most probably brought into India by the Vedic Aryans, 
as we find the same custom among the closely allied Iranians. To 
seek for the origin of this ancient Aryan custom in Tibet is absolutely 
unwarranted. The other argument of Dr. Smith, that the ancient 
judicial procedure at Vaisali as given in the Atthakatha is sub- 
stantially identical with the modern procedure at Lhasa as observed 
by the Bengali traveller in Tibet, the late Rai Bahadur Sarat 
Chunder Das, CXE-, need not detain us very long. This procedure 
the Tibetans may well have imbibed along with Buddhism from 
the province of Tirhut, which was nearest to their frontiers, and 
which was inhabited by the descendants of the Licchavis of old. 

Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana held that the Licchavis were of 
Persian origin. His strongest argument is the verbal coincidence 
between Nisibis in the Persian Empire, and the word Nicchivi 
which occurs in Mantt. He continues: 'It appears to me very 
probable that while about 515 B.C., Darius, king of Persia sent 
an expedition to India, or rather caused the Indus to be explored 

1 Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXXII, 1903, p. 234- ,„._ _ ,. 

2 XVIII 2 34. 'Ye nikhata ye paropta ye dagdha ye coddhitah sarvamstanagna 
avaha pitrln havi$e attave.'— Atharvaveda Samhitfi, ed. Roth and Whitney, p. 339- 

a Atharva Samhita, trsl, W. IX Whitney, revised and ed. C. R. Lanman, Harvard 
Or. Series, Vol. VIII, p. 840. 

4 Ibid., p. 841. ..... , . 

s With regard to this passage see also Zimrner, Alhndtsches Lebm, p. 402; 
and Macdonell and Keith, Vedic Index, Vol. I, p. 8. 



from the land of the Pakhtu (Afghans) to its mouth, some of his 
Persian subjects in Nisibis (off Herat) immigrated to India, and 
having found the Punjab over-populated by the orthodox 
Brahmanas, came down as far as Magadlia (Bihar) which was at 
that time largely inhabited by Vratyas or outcaste people. ' This 
is absurd on the'face of it. The Ijcchavis were already a flourishing 
people long established in the Videha country, and had built up 
a splendid capital at Vaisali at the time of the Buddha s death; 
and whether we take the date of this event to be 487 B.C., as the 
late V A. Smith thought, or 544 B.C., the traditional date main- 
tained by the Cevlonese Buddhist monks, it is absurd to identify 
the Licchavis with the followers or subjects of Darius who wele 
exploring the Indus about 515 B.C. .; 

It remains for us to refer to another theory about the foreign 
origin of the Licchavis, started by Seal, viz. that they were ' Yue- 
chi'. ! It hardly requires to be refuted, as the Vue-chl came to 
India about the' beginning of the Christian era, and the Licchavis 
were a highly civilised and prosperous people in the fifth and sixth 
centuries B.C. when the Ephathalites or White Huns had not started 
from their original home in the east. 

Vaisali, the Capital of the Licchavis 

Vaisali, 'the large city' par excellence, is renowned in Indian 
history as the capital of tlie Licchavi rajas and the headquarters of 
the powerful Vajjian confederacy." This great city is intimately 
associated with the early history of both Jainism and Buddhism. 

Vaisali claims the founder of Jainism as its citizen. The 
SiUrakrtangaJ a Jaina canonical work, says of Mahavira, the last 
Tirthaiikara of the Jains: 'Thus spoke the Arahat Jnatrputra, 
the reverend, famous native of Vaisali, who possessed the highest 
knowledge and the highest faith.'" Mahavira is spoken of as 
VesSlie or Vaisalika, i.e. a native of Vaisali.' 1 Moreover, 
Abhayadeva in his commentary on the Bhagavall (2, 1, 12, 2) explains 
Vaisalika by Mahavira and speaks of Visala as Mahavlrajanani 
or 'the mother of Mahavira'.' Besides, from a comparison of the 

1 Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXXVII, J908, p. 79. 

* The Life if lliuen-Tvang by Beal, Intro, p. xxii. 

3 Rhvs JJavkls Baddhist hldia , p. 40. 

4 Jacobi, Jaina <u/ras, S.B.E., Pt. II, p. 261 (Sutrakrtanga, I, 2, 3, 22). 

* Ibid., Pt. II, Lecture VI, 17, p. 27 (Uitarddhyaytmasutra). 
fi Jacobi, Jaina Sutra*, Pt. I, Introduction, si. 

' Weber. Indixhc Sindieu, Band XVI, p. 263: 'Arieb Abhayadeva zu unag. 
2, I, 12, 2 eridart Vaicalika durch Mahavira, und zwar als Metronymicum W, 
Vi9aia Maliavrrajanani.' 


Buddhist and Jaina scriptures, it appears that Kundagrama, the 
birthplace of Mahavlra, was a suburb of VaisahV As we have 
already seen, Mahavira's mother Trisala was a sister of Cetaka, 
one of the rajas of Vaisall. The Jaina Kalpastdm speaks of the 
connection of Mahavlra with the Videha country and its capital 
VaMH* During his later ascetic life Mahavlra did not neglect 
the city of his birth, and we are told that out of the 42 rainy seasons 
of this period of his life, he passed no less than 12 at Vaisall- 8 

The connection of the Buddha with Vaisall is no less close. 
Many of his immortal discourses were delivered here either at the 
mango-grove of Ambapall, on the outskirts of the city, or at 
KutagarasSla in the Mahavana, the great forest stretching out 
up to the Himalavas. The Buddha was charmed with the conduct 
of the Vajjis or Licchavis residing within the town, and looked 
upon them with kindness and approbation. The seven points of 
excellence * with which he characterised the Iicchavis in answer 
to the queries put to him by the ministers sent by King Ajatasatru 
of Magadha, are very well known. _ 

One hundred years after the Buddha's Nirvana, Vaisall again 
drew to itself the care and attention of the Buddhist Church - 
but this time not on account of the many good qualities of character 
and powers of organisation of its citizens, but because of the secular 
tenets held by the Vaisali monks {V ajjiputtaka bhtkkhus), who 
were not carrying out the Master's precepts conscientiously. Ihe 
second general council of the Buddhist Church, known as the_ 
Sattasatika or the Convention of the 700, took place at Vaisall 
in order to suppress the heresies of these pleasure-seeking monks.' 

We have alrcadv referred to the fanciful accounts of 
Buddhaghosa, the Mamayana and the Visnupumna regarding the 
origin of Vaisall. The RSmayana further tells us that when Rama 
and his brother Laksmana, guided by the sage Msvamitra, crossed 
the river Ganges on their way to Mithila, they had a view of the 
city of Vaisall. It does not tell us that it was exactly on the bank 
of the river, but says that 'while seated on the northern shore they 
saw the town'.' Then, the story goes on the travehers went to 
the city of Visala which was an excellent town, charming and 

1 Jacobi, Jaina SiUras, S.B.B., Vol. XXII, pp. *-=. 

" lUi Vol I, p. 256, K,dp,i S.i'ra, paragraphs no, in. 
» Jacobi, ICdpmBlra. paragraph "3. 

pp. nrn,. Examination 0/ the Pali Budih„l,oal Annals, \ol. \ I, Pt. II, p. 729, 
TA.S.B., 1837 (Sept.). 

« Eamayina (Bombay edition), Chap. 45, verse o. 


heavenly, in fact a veritable svarga'. 1 Visvamitra here narrates 
a lone mythological story to show the importance of the locality. 
He goes on to say that the Iksvaku prince then ruling over the 
country was named Sumati, and adds that, by favour of Iksvaku, 
the father of the eponymous founder of the city and ancestor of 
the ruling dynasty, all the kings of Vaisali (sarve Vaisalika nypdh) 
were long lived, high souled, possessed of strength and power and 
highly virtuous. 2 

From all these mythical stories, it is apparent that the name 
of the city had something to do with the word visala or 'extensive', 
and from' what we read of the description of the ruins that Hsiian 
Tsang saw in the seventh century A.D., there can be no doubt 
of its wide extent. The Chinese traveller relates, 'The foundations 
of the old city Vaisali were sixty or seventy li in circuit, and the 
"palace city" (i.e. the walled part of the city) was four and five 
h in circuit.' 3 This would mean an area of about twenty miles 
in circumference for the outer town; and the 'palace city' perhaps 
represents the earliest of the three cities which, according to 
Buddhaghosa, were built to accommodate the Licchavis as they 
rapidly increased in numbers; but its area woidd not in that case 
agree with the statement that each of the three walls was at a 
distance of a gavuta [gavyuti) or a quarter yojana, that is- roughly 
a league from the other. 

Buddhaghosa 's description is also supported by the Atthakatha 
to the Ekapanna Jataka, where we are told, 'At the time of the 
Buddha, the city of Vesali was encompassed by three walls at a 
distance of a gavuta from one another, and at three places there 
were gates with watch-towers and buildings.' 4 The three walls 
are also referred to in the Atthakatha to the Lomahamsa Jataka. 6 

The Tibetan Dulva (iii, f. 80) gives the following description: 
'There were three districts in Vaisali. In the first district_ were 
seven thousand houses with golden towers, in the middle district 
were fourteen thousand houses with silver towers, and in the last 
district were twenty-one thousand houses with copper towers, 
in these lived the upper, the middle and the lower classes according 
to their positions.' a 

1 Ramayana (Bornb.-iv edition). Chap. 45, verses 10 and 11. 
a Ibid... Chap. 47, verse 18. Whether nrpah can here be taken to mean the 
oligarchy of rajas referred to elsewhere is uncertain. 

3 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 63. 

4 Jataka (Fausboll), Vol. I, p. 504. ' V esalinagaram gavul 
pakarehi jxirikkkittaiii iisit fhanesu gopurattalokavuttam.' 

5 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 389. ' 
fl Rock-hill, Life of the Buddha, p. 62. 


Hoernle in his English translation of the Jaina work, 
Uvasagadasao, advances the suggestion that the three districts 
referred to in the Dulva and in the Althakatha, ' may very well have 
been Vesali proper, Kundapura and Vaniyagama occupying respec- 
tively the south-eastern, north-eastern and western portions 
of the area of the total city. Beyond Kundapura, in a further 
north-easterly direction lay the suburb (or 'station', sannivesa) 
of Kollaga which appears to have been principally inhabited by 
the Ksatriyas of the Naya (or clan, to which Mahavira 
himself belonged; for it is described as the_Naya-kula'. 1 He 
further observes that the phrases used in the Ayaranga-sutra like 
'Uttara-Khattiya-Kundafura-sannivesa or dahina-mahana-Kunda- 
pura-sannivesa ', ' do not mean the northern Ksatriya (resp. Southern 
Bralimanical) part of the place Kundapura, but the Northern 
Ksatriya, etc., suburb of Kundapura, i.e. that suburb (sannivesa) 
of' the city of Kundapura, which lay towards the north and was 
inhabited by the (Naya clan of) Ksatriyas; it was distinguished 
from the southern suburb of the same city (Kundapura or Vesali) 
which was inhabited by the Brahmins. This interpretation is 
confirmed by the parallel phrases in Kap. §22 (et passim), Khattiya- 
Kundagame Nayare and Mahana-Kundagame Nayare, which are 
rightly translated as the Ksatriya (resp. the Brahmanical) part 
of the town Kundagama '.« He also points out that 'the phrase 
ucca-niya majjhimaim kulaim, "upper, lower and middle classes", 
applied to the town of Vaniyagama in sections 77, 78 (of the Uvasaga- 
dasao) curiously agrees with the description of Vesali given in the 
Dulva'. s . 

The Buddha must have paid many visits to the Liccnavi 
capital, and reports of at least two besides that already referred 
to are preserved in Buddhist books. The earliest of his visits 
is described at length in the Makavastu.* We are told there, how 
the people of Vaisall were troubled by a frightful pestilence which 
was laying their country waste, and how all their efforts to stay 
the plague proved fruitless. In their distress they sent for various 
well-known holy men, but these failed to afford them any relief 
As a last resort the people of Vaisall sent a deputation headed 
by Tomara a Licchavi chief, to Rajagrha to bring the Buddha to 
their citv King Bimbisara himself secured the Buddha s consent 
to help the Licchavis, and insisted on accompanying him to the 
boundaries of his territory. ' 

1 Hoernle, Uvasagadasao, Vol. II, translation, p. 4, note 8 

t ibid., vol. 11, P 5- B IM a - ™- n ,' a TtT\ p - • ■ 

* he Makavastu, ed. E. Senart, Vol. I, pp. 25 3 fi- See also Buddnagnosa B 
introduction to commentary on Ratana-sutta. 


To impress the Licchavis with an idea of his power and wealth, 
the king of Magadha had the road from Rajagrha to the Ganges, 
which formed the boundary between the two dominions, levelled, 
cleaned, decorated, and sprinkled with flowers; while the smoke 
of rich incense perfumed its whole length. He himself followed 
the Buddha, with his whole court and numerous retinue. The 
Licchavis, both the Abhyantara-Vaisalakas, those living within 
the walls of the city, and the Bahira-Vaisalakas, the people living 
in the suburbs and surroundings, came in all their splendour and 
magnificence, in dazzling garments of all colours. Even the Buddha 
was impressed by their appearance, and compared them to the 
Tavatimsa gods. The Licchavis decorated the road from the 
Ganges' to Vaisall with a magnificence that far outdid the pre- 
parations made by the Magadhan king, and they provided for 
the comfort of the Buddha and the congregation of monks on a 
still more lavish scale. As soon as the Buddha crossed over to the 
northern side of the river and stepped on Licchavi soil, all malign 
influences that had hung over the country vanished, and the sick 
and the suffering were restored to health. The Buddha did not 
wish to live in the city or its suburbs, but he accepted the invita- 
tion 1 of BhagavatI Gosrhgl to live in the Mahavana, the great 
forest extending from the city far away to the north. 

The Licchavis built the Kutagarasala monastery for the Buddha 
in the forest, and offered it to him and to the Buddhist congrega- 
tion; and the Buddha permitted the bhikkhus to reside there. 
One day the Licchavis on coming to the Mahavana learnt that the 
Buddha had repaired to the Capala-Caitya to spend the day; 
thereupon they presented it to him and to the congregation of 
monks. Similarly, finding the Buddha spending the day at the 
Saptamra-Caitya, Bahuputra-Caitya, Gautama- Caity a, Kapinahya- 
Caitya and Markatahrada-tira-Caitya respectively, the Licchavis 
made a gift of all these places of worship to him and to the Buddhist 
Church. Even the courtesan Amrapali made a gift of her extensive 
mango-grove to the congregation; and similarly Balika made over 
Balikachavi, 2 which is evidently the same as the Balikarama of the 
Pali Buddhist books. 3 On this visit to their city, the Buddha 
delivered many discourses to the people of Vaisall, and established 
the Buddhist faith on a strong foundation at the capital of the 

We read in the Vinaya {Mahavagga and Cullavagga) and other 
Pali texts of the Buddha's visits to the and other 

1 Le Maftavastu, ed. Senart, Vol. I, pp. 295-9. 2 Ibitf., Vol. I, p. 3 00 ' 

s Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., Pt. Ill, p. 408. 


retreats. On one such occasion the Buddha taught his monks 
many matters connected with the sort of houses they were to build 
and dwell in ; and he also ordered the Samgha to excommunicate 
Vaddlia, a Licchavi, who had brought a false charge against one 
at the brotherhood; but afterwards relented on Vaddha's making 
due reparations. 1 

In accounts in the Buddhist books, whether Pali or Sanskrit, 
Vaisali is represented as a rich and prosperous town. 2 For example, 
in the Lalitavistara we arc told that some of the gods of the Tusita 
heaven, in advancing the claims of Vaisali for the honour of being 
the Buddha's birthplace, said, 'This great city of Vaisali is pros- 
perous and proud, happy and rich with abundant food, charming 
and delightful, crowded with many and various peoples, adorned 
with buildings of every description, with storeyed mansions, build- 
ings with towers, and" palaces, with noble gateways and charming 
with beds of flowers in her numerous gardens and groves. This city, 
resembling the city of the gods, is indeed fit for the birth of the 
Bodhisattva.' 3 - - 

We next come to the accounts of the city left by the Chinese 
travellers. Fa. Hien, who visited Vaisali at the beginning of the 
fifth century A.D., i.e. about a thousand years after the Buddha's 
time says, 4 ' 'North of the city is a large forest, having in it the 
double-galleried vihara where Buddha dwelt, and the tope over 
half the body of Ananda.' The double-galleried vihara is evidently 
the Kutagarasala in the Mahavana or'great forest', which stretched 
right up to the Himalayas as Buddhaghosa explains m his Suman- 
galamldsint to the Mahdli Sutta in the Digha Ntkaya* With 
regard to the Kutagarasala Buddhaghosa says: In that forest 
fie Mahavana) was established a samghdrama (monastery). A 
Pasada (storeyed building) was built on pillars and putting a pinnacle 
above, it was made into a kutagarasala resembling a chariot of the 
gods {devavimdna). From it, the whole samghdrama is known as 
Kutagarasala.' ■ This agrees with Fa-Hien s description of the 
double-galleried vihara. The upper storey was evidently built 

1 CuUavagga, Vinaya Texts, Pt. II, S.B.E., pp. 101 et seq. See also Vinaya 
Texts, S.B.K., Pt. Ill, pp. 322 and 408; Pt. II, pp. 210-11. 

2 See, e.g., Mah&vagga, Vinaya Texts, Pt. II, S.B.E., p. 171. 
» Laiitamstara, ed Lefman, Chap. Ill, p. 21. 

* Legge, Fa-Hien, p. 72. 

s StimaKgalavilasim, Pt. I (P.T.3.), p. 3»9- , . , _ _ j^mls&m 

a Ibid Pt I PTS p 309 "Tasmin vanasande sanghawutim paUUhape- 

sufn. Tattha kannikam ' y^etva thambhanam ufari Rut, > *7?m 

vi^na-sadisavpasadamaLmw. Tam u P adayz szkalo jn samgharamo Kuiagarasala 

it pailudyittha.' 


upon a large number of pillars instead of walls, and on the top 
there was a kuta or peak, so that there were two galleries, one 
below and the other above, and from the upper storey rose a pinnacle, 
as we see in the vimanas or rathas referred to by Buddhaghosa. 
Hsiian Tsang, who visited the city more than 200 years after 
Fa-Hien, found this great vihara in ruins. He adds, 'To the east 
of the tope of the Jataka narrative was a wonder-working tope 
on the old foundations of the " two-storey Preaching Hall", 1 in which 
Ju-lai delivered the P'u-men-t'o-lo-ni and other sutras. Close 
to the remains of the Preaching Hall was the tope which contained 
the half-body relics of Ananda.' 2 The story of the parinirvana 
of Ananda and the division of the remnants of the body has been 
told by Fa-Hien, and the same account is also given in the Tibetan 
works. 3 

Hsiian Tsang's account of the country of which Vaisali was 
the capital agrees pretty well with the tradition of its prosperity 
preserved in the Buddhist books. The Vaisali country is described 
by the pilgrim as being above five thousand li in circuit, a very 
fertile region abounding in mangoes, plantains and other fruits. 
The people were honest, fond of good works, lovers of learning, 
and both orthodox and heterodox in faith. 1 

In the Tibetan works, a similar account is given of the pros- 
perity and opulence of Vaisali, which is invariably described in the 
Dulva as a kind of earthly paradise, with its handsome buildings, 
its parks and gardens, singing birds and continual festivities. 5 
The Romantic Legend of $akya Buddha," translated by Beal from 
Chinese sources, gives an account similar to that in the Laltta- 

The identification of Vaisali, the capital of the Licchavis.has 
been much discussed by scholars. General Cunningham identified 
the present village of Basarh in the Muzafferpur district in Tirhut 
as marking the spot where Vaisali stood in ancient days, 7 and 
M. Vivien de Saint Martin agreed with him. Dr. W. Hoey sought, 
though on very insufficient evidence, to establish the identity of 
Vaisali with a place called Cherand, situated on the northern bank 
of the Ganges about 7 miles south-east from Chapra. 8 This identi- 
fication was proved to be untenable by V. A. Smith, 9 who succeeded 

1 Evidently the Kutagara Hall. 

B Waiters,' 0» Yuan Chwtmg, Vol. II, p. 71. » Legge, Fa-Hien, pp. 75-7- 

« Beal, Buddhist Record* of "the Western World. II, 66. 

' Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 63. • P. 28. 

? Arch. S. Report, Vol. I, pp. 55, 56 and Vol. XVI, p. 6. 

9 J.A.S.B., 1900, Vol. LXIX, Pt. I, pp. 78-80, 83. 

* V. A. Smith, J.R.A.S., 1902, p. 267, n. 3. 


in confirming Cunningham's identification. The identity of Vaisali 
and Basarh was proved still more decisively by the archaeological 
explorations carried out on the site in 1903-4 by T. Bloch. Bloch 
excavated a mound called Raja Visal ka garh. Three distinct 
strata were found, the uppermost belonging to the period of 
Mahomedan occupation of the place, the second, at a depth of 
about five feet from the surface, related to the epoch of the Imperial 
Guptas, and the third, at a still greater depth, belonging to an 
ancient period of which no definite date could be obtained. 1 The 
finds in the second stratum, however, were of great value, especially 
a hoard of 700 clay seals evidently used as attachment to letters 
or other literary documents. 2 

The names of certain Gupta kings, queens and princes on some 
of these seals, coupled with pateographic evidence, clearly demon- 
strate that they belonged to the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. 
Some of the impressions show that the name Tirabhuktl (the original 
form of Tirhut) was applied to the province even 1 m these early 
times, and some show the name of the town itself, Vaisali.' these 
things go to prove the identity of the site with Vaisali, and there 
seems to be no ground to question this conclusion any longer. But 
it must be noted that the results so far obtained by excavation 
are very meagre. 

Manners and Customs 

We have already seen that the Lfcchavis were included in the 
great Vajjian confederacy. But sometimes Vajjl (Skt Vrn) and 
Jjcchavi were used indiscriminately as synonyms. At the time the 
Buddha lived, 'the Vajjis were divided into several clans such as the 
Iicchavis, the Vaidehis, the Tirabhuktls and so on and the exact 
number of those clans would appear to have been eight, as criminals 
were arraigned before the Atthakulaka or eight clans, which would 
appear to have been a jury composed of one member from each of 
the separate divisions of the tribe'. 6 .. 

All these Vajjis lived in great amity rad concord, ""J*™ 
unity coupled with their martial instincts and the efficiency of 
their martial institutions made them great and powerful amongst 
the nations of North-Eastem India.-. Their V^S^JZ^ 
another was exemplary. If one Licchavi fell ill, the other Licchavis 
came to see him The whole clan would join to any auspicious 

■ Sir John H. Marsh.ll, Arch. Su,». of India. Annual Rtforf. '9°J+£ «' 
* Ibil., p. 74. ' »*. P: II0 ' 

Annals, No. 5, J.A.S.B., Dec. 1838, p. <&2- 



ceremony performed in the house of one of their number; if any 
foreigner of rank and power paid a visit to the Licchavi capital, 
they would all go out in a body to receive him and do him honour. 1 
The young Licchavis were handsome in appearance and fond 
of brilliant colours in their dress and equipages. 3 We have already 
seen how their splendour impressed the Buddha when he first met 
them. We have a detailed account of the attire of the Licchavi 
nobles in the Mahaparinibbdna Suttanta, which describes bow the 
Licchavi nobles went out for the last time to meet the Buddha. 
Apparently the Licchavis suited the colour of their clothes and 
ornaments' to the tint cf their complexions, and dressed themselves in 
dark blue (mla), yellow (^fl),red (lohita), or white {oddta) accordingly. 3 
Exactly the same description of the colours favoured by the 
Licchavis is given in the Anguitara Nikaya* which shows that they 
wore these colours not only on festive occasions but in their ordinary 
daily life also. Once while the Buddha was staying at the Kuta- 
garasala. in the Mahavaua, five hundred of the Licchavis were 
seated around him. Some of them were mla or blue all over in 
clothes and ornaments, and similarly others were yellow, red or 
white. We may compare these descriptions with the more detailed 
account in the Mahdvastu of the colours favoured by the Licchavis: 
'There are Licchavis with blue horses, blue chariots, blue reins and 
whips, blue sticks, blue clothes, blue ornaments, blue turbans, 
blue umbrellas and with blue swords, blue jewels, blue footwears 
and blue everything befitting their youth.' 5 In the same terms 
the Mahdvastu speaks of the Licchavis decked all in yellow {pita) 
and in light red, the colour of the Bengal mdddr (manjistha), in 
red {lohita), in white (sveta), in green (harita), and some in varie- 
gated colours (vyayuktct) . 6 

Perhaps the Licchavis were divided into separate septs as 
Senart suggested, distinguished by the colour worn by each; 
otherwise it is difficult to explain why the same colours should be 
preferred for the trappings of the horses and decorations of their 
carriages, as well as the articles of dress adorning their own persons. 
There was moreover a profusion of gold and jewels in everything 
in their equipage — carriages drawn by horses, gold-bedecked 
elephants, palanquins of gold set with all kinds of precious stones. 

i (p.t.s.), n, pp. 517-8. 

2 Watters, On Yuan Chwang, Vol. II, p. 79. 

a Digha Nikaya, Vol. II, p. 96; Bmfdhisl S/dlas, S.H.R., Vol. XI, p. 31. 

4 Anguttara Nikaya, P.T.S., Pt. Ill, p. 239. 

5 Mahdvastu, Vol. I, p. 259. 

6 We have here followed the interpretation, suggested by Senart, of Yvayakiu 
[Le Mahdvastu, note, p. 574) ; this meaning, however, is very doubtful. 


All this bespeaks a prosperous people, and it might be expected 
that thev would be given. to luxury and indolence. But this was 
not their character at the time when the Buddha lived and preached 
among them. The Samyutta Nikaya preserves this saying, which 
is attributed to the Buddha: 'Look ye Bhikkhus here, how these 
Licchavis live sleeping with logs of wood as pillows, strenuous and 
diligent [appamatta] , zealous and active {atapino) in archery. 
Ajatasattu Vedehipntto, the Magadhan king, can find no defect 
in them, nor can he discover any cause of action (against them). 
Should the Licchavis, O Bhikkhus, in the time to come, be very 
delicate, tender and soft in their arms and legs, should they sleep 
in ease and comfort on cushions of the finest cotton until the sun 
is up in the heavens, then the Magadhan king, AjatasattuVedehi- 
putto, will find defects and will discover cause of action.' 1 This 
testimony of the Buddha goes to show that the Licchavis were 
hardy and active, ardent and strenuous in their military training. 

The Licchavis used to kill animals on the 8th, 14th and 15th 
dav of the lunar months and eat their flesh. 2 

They were fond of manly pastimes such as elephant training 
and hunting. Among the Psalms of the Brethren {Theragdtha), 
we find one composed bv Vajjiputtaka, the son of a Licchaviraja 
at Vaisali, who, in his early life, was engaged in training elephants.' 
The Aftguttara Nikaya narrates how a large number of Licchavi 
youths armed with bows, ready with strings, set and surrounded 
by a pack of hounds, were roving about in the Mahavana, but 
finding the Buddha seated at the foot of a tree in the forest, threw 
away their bows and arrows and sending away the pack of hounds 
sat by the Great Teacher, subdued by his presence. A Licchavi 
of advanced years, named Mahanama, who came to pay his respects 
to the Buddha, expressed his great wonder at the sight oi the 
Licchavi youths full of life and vivacitv, notorious for their insolent 
and wanton conduct in the city, thus sitting silent arid demure, 
in an attitude of reverence before the Great Teacher. the Licchavi 
youths, O Lord!' he goes on, 'are rude and rough and whatever 
presents are sent to the families, sugarcane or plums, cakes, sweet- 
meats or preparations of sugar, these they plunder and eat up 
throw dust at the ladies of respectable families and girls of good 
families; such young men are now all silent and demure, are doing 
obeisance with joined palms to yourself, O Lord. * 

1 Samyutta Nikaya (P.T.S.), Ft. II, pp. 267-8. 

a Divyavadam (Cowell and Neil), p. r36. 

' Plains oftk Urethra, Mrs. Rhys Davids, p. 106; Tlnragatha, 

• Anguttam Nikaya (F.T.S.), Pt. Ill, P- 7 6 - 


'In the Buddha's time, the young Licchavis of the City', says 
Watters 'were a free, wild, set, very handsome and full of life, 
and Buddha compared them to the gods in Indra's heaven. They 
dressed well, were good archers, and drove fast carriages, but they 
were wanton insolent and utterly irreligious.' 1 This is an exaggera- 
tion and is probably based on the Chinese translations of such 
passages as the one in the Lalitavistara, where some of the Tusita gods 
point out the defects in the character of the Vaisalians when their 
city was recommended bv others among them as a suitable place 
of birth for the Bodhisattva. 2 Whatever might have been the 
opinions of these 'sons of heaven' before the birth of the Buddha, 
they must later have changed their opinions about the people of 
VaiSali, who showed such remarkable veneration towards the 
Buddha and received such marked favour from him. We may, 
however, assume that the Licchavis were rather independent in 
character and would not easily accept a subordinate position to 
any one, whether in politics, religion, or ordinary daily life. 

Then again the statement that the Licchavis did not respect 
their elders or were irreligious, is in direct contradiction to what 
the Buddha said about their regard for elders to Vassakara, the 
Magadhan minister. 8 

The Licchavi youths went to distant countries for their 
education. We read of a Licchavi named Mahali who went to 
Taxila to learn sil-pa or arts. It is said that he in his turn trained 
as many as 500 Licchavis who also, when educated, took up the 
same task and in this way education spread far and wide among 
the Licchavis. 4 

Nor were the fine arts neglected. Artisans such as tailors, 
goldsmiths and jewellers must have been much in demand in the 
city of Vaisall to furnish the gay robes of the ' seven thousand seven 
hundred and seven' rajas or nobles. The art of architecture also 
was much developed in Vaisall; the magnificent palaces of the 
Licchavis are spoken of in the Lalitavistara. 5 They were equally 
enthusiastic in the building of temples, shrines, and monasteries 
for the Bhikkhus; and we are told that the Bhikkhus themselves 
superintended the construction of these buildings for the_ Order. 
The Licchavis of Vaisall built many caityas or shrines inside and 
outside their great city, and we have already seen with what great 

1 Watters, On Yuan Ckwang, Vol. II, p. 79. 

* Lalitavistara, ed. S. Lefmann, Vol. I, p. 1\. 
< Dialogues of the Buddha, Pt. II, p. 80. 

* Fawsboll, Dhamtnapada (old ed.), p. 211. 
6 Chap. 3, p. 23 (Bibl. Indtca Series), 


liberality they gave the best among them to the Buddha and the 
Buddhist Church. That these caityas were beautiful and fine 
buildings, where people might wish to dwell indefinitely, was the 
expressed opinion of the Buddha, as we see from a passage in the 
Dtgha Nikdya. 1 . 

About the marriage rites of the Licchavis, it is said in the 
Tibetan books that there were rules restricting the marriage of 
all girls born in Vaisali to that city alone. They state, 'The people 
of Vaisali had made a law that a daughter born in the first district 
could marry only in the first district, not in the second or third; 
that one born in the middle district could marry only in the first 
and second; but that one born in the last district could marry in 
any of the three; moreover, that no marriage was to be contracted 
outside Vaisali.' 2 Certain passages in the Bhikkhunl Vibhanga 
SaAghddidesa' indicate that a Licchavi could ask the Licchavi- 
mm or corporation of Licchavis to select a suitable bride for him, 
or 'to try a case of adultery. The punishment for a woman who 
broke her marriage vow was very severe; the husband could even 
kill her with impunity. But an adulterous woman could save 
herself from punishment by entering the congregation of nuns. 
The Licchavis appear to have had a high idea of female chastity; 
violation of chastity was a serious offence amongst them. The 
Buddha says that 'no women or girls belonging to their clans are 
detained among them by force or abduction .' The Petavatthu 
AlthahatU gives the story of a Licchavi raja named Ambasakkhara 
who was enamoured of a married woman, whose husband he engaged 
as an officer under him; but he was foiled in his attempts to gam 

The Licchavis observed various festivals, of which the Sahha- 
rattivdro or Sahharatticira was the most important. At this festival 
songs were sung, and drums and other musical instruments were used. 
When a festival took place at Vaisali, all the people used to enjoy 
it, and there were dancing, singing and recitations. 

1 Buddhist Sulfas, S.E.E., Vol. XI, p. 58. 

2 Rocktiill, Life of the Buddha, p. 62. nta^h™, 
■ Bhitth,ni VibLie* San S Miides«, II, F*KS» »*«, ed. H. Oldenberg, 

Vol, IV, pp. 225-6. 

* Ibid., p. 225. 

s Buddhist Sulfas, S.B.E., Vol. XI, pp. 3-4- *—.-»*« R Pn „^t 

tPetamtihu AtthakatM, Sinhalese eto Spon Hm "*£™ *, ^ff 

Series, No. i, pp. §4"£ and see B. C. Law, The Bnddhst Conception of Sfitrtts, 

2nd Ed., pp. 73-5. 

* Samyutt.i Xikdvu. Vol. I, pp. 201-2. - 

a Theragatka Commentary, v. 62; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 63. 


Views and Practices 

All our information about the views and practices of the 
Licchavis is derived from Buddhist books, and to a smaller extent 
from Jaina works. From these we learn that the Licchavis, though 
vigorous, martial, and highly prosperous, were at the same time of 
a stronglv religious bent of mind. Both Jaimsm and Buddhism found 
many followers among them. Even before the advent of the 
two 'new forms of religion, the Licchavis, or to call them by 
their wider designation, the Vajjis, appear to have been imbued 
with a strong religious spirit. The Vajjis appear to have ^had 
numerous shrines in their town as well as in the country. Even 
after Jainism and Buddhism had obtained a strong hold on the 
Licchavis of Vaisali, the great body of the people of the Vajji 
country as well as of the capital remained staunch followers of 
their ancient faith, the principal feature of which was Caitya worship, 
although they had due respect for the Jaina or Buddhist sages 
who wandered over their country preaching the message delivered 
by their respective teachers. The Mahaparinihbiina Suttanta tells 
us what the Buddha told Vassakara, the prime minister {mahamatra) 
of Magadha, when the latter was sent by Ajatasatru to learn from 
the Buddha what he would predict with regard to the king's daring 
plan of exterminating the Vajjis. The Buddha said: 'So long as 
the Vajjians honour and esteem and revere and respect and support 
the Vajjian shrines 1 in town or country, and allow not the proper 
offerings and rites, as formerly given and performed, to fall into 
desuetude, so long as the rightful protection, defence and support 
shall be fully provided for the Arahants among them .... so long 
may the Vajjians be expected not to decline but to prosper. 3 
This was said by the Buddha on the eve of his last departure for 
Vaisali. Buddhaghosa in his commentary, the Sumangalavilasmt,^ 
also informs us that the Licchavis observed their old religious rites. 
We must here bear in mind the fact that Buddhism at the early 
stage of which we are speaking was a form of faith for ascetics 
only, not a religious creed for all people. The Buddhists at this 
period formed only one of the numerous ascetic sects of Northern 
India ; thus there was nothing unusual in the fact that many of the 

i The word in the text is 'Cetiydni'. T. W. Rhys Davids' translation seems to 
be too exclusive for, as Kern points out, the name Cetiya was applied not only ° 
shrines, but a!so to sacred trees, memorial stone*, holy spots, images, reii^io^ 
inscriptions [Manual of Indian Buddhism, p. 91. See also B. C. Law, Geography 0] 
Early Buddhism, pp. 79-80). 

2 T. W. andC. A. F. Rhys Davids, DMogin-s of the Buddha, Pt. II, p. 80, 

3 Stimangalavilasim (P.T.S.), II, pp. 517-8, 


Licchavis who were householders and had not accepted the life of 
Bhikkhus should remain firm followers of their former faith. 

From the meagre mention of the Caityas of the Licchavis in 
the Buddhist books, it is not easy to determine what the principal 
objects of their worship were; but there is nothing to show that 
the religious beliefs of the Licchavis were in any way different 
from the form of faith which obtained in other parts of Northern 
India The Vedic rehgion was still in full vigoui in N.E. 
India as the references to Vedic sacrifices in the Buddhist books 
show We should bear in mind that the country of the Vajjis 
was the sacred land of Videha, where the great Samrat Janaka 
had exercised his sway, and where Yajfiavalkya preached the 
White Yajurveda. ,_ .. 

The Caityas mentioned in the Mahavaslu are the l_apala, 
Saptamraka, Bahuputra, Gautama, Kapinahya and Markaja- 
hradatira In the Mahaparinibbdna Suttanla, we find the following 
names of Caityas as mentioned by the Buddha: Gotamaka 
(= Gautama), Sattambaka (= Saptamraka) Bahuputraka 
= Bahuputra or Bahuputraka), Sarandada, and Capala The 
Patika Suttanla seems to indicate that Vaisali was bounded by 
four shrines: Udena (Udayana) on the east, Gotamaka on the 
south, Sattamba on the west, and Bahuputta on the north 
A passage in the Divyavadana also gives a list of the Ca.tyasm 
alrnost the same words as the Mahapanmbbana Suttanla there also 
the Buddha is represented as speaking of the beauties of the Caityas 
called Capala, Saptamraka, Bahupatraka and Gautama-n; agrodha. 
Bahupatraka is 'evidently the same as the Bahuputraka of the 
other texts. Buddhaghosa in his commentary on the M f. a ^"r 
nihbana Suttanla explains cetiyani in the text as Yakkha^«M. 
and regarding the Sarandada-caitya where the Buddha P^ad**. 
he savs: 'This was a Vihara erected on the ate of a former shrine 
of the Yakkha (tree deity) Sarandada." Hence it a . «•»»«* 
to assume that the Yakkhas were worshipped in some of ' tte <j»^«j 
The Buddhist books show further that the Ved.c ^te. tafa "4 
Prajapati or Brahma,' were popular deities in the regions w -her e the 

popularly worshipped, besides the Vedic divinities. Some ■■***** 
are of opinion that the Caityas were 'shrines of pre-Buddhistic 

' Dialogues of the Buddha, ft. Ill, i>- i-l- 
8 Divvamddna, p. 201. , 

■ Dialog,,, of, he B-diha. Pt. II, p. So, ™« e ~ - "im 
' For Brahma, see S..V., 122 seq.;.5«»«..M. 1,1-3. «.«-. , 
' 5 Ed. R. Shama Shastri, 2nd Ed., p. 244. 


worship ' and that ' they were probably trees and barrows." > Some 
of the Caityas, as their names suggest, might have been named 
after the trees which marked the spots, but it would be going too 
far to imagine merely from the name that these snnnes consisted 

of trees and nothing else. A 

As we have seen, Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara oi the Jams, 
was a citizen of Vaisali. Even before his advent, the faith of which 
he was the last exponent seems to have been prevalent m Vaisali 
and the surrounding country, in some earlier form. It appears 
from the Jaina accounts that the religion as fixed and established 
by Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara, was followed by some 
at least of the Ksatriya peoples of N.E. India especially amongst 
the residents of Vaisali. We read in the Ayaranga-sntm that 
Mahavira's parents were 'worshippers of Parsva and followers of 
the Sramanas'.* Similar accounts are given in other Jama works 
of the prevalence in the country of a faith which was afterwards 
developed by Mahavira. Sramanas or wandering ascetics had 
been in existence ever since the time of the earlier Upamsads, and 
evidentlv the Sramanas that were followed by the parents of 
Mahavira belonged to one of the numerous sects or classes of Indian 
ascetics. After Mahavira's time, the number of his followers among 
the Iicchavis appears to have been large, even including some 
men of the highest position in Vaisali, as is seen from the Buddhist 
books. In the Mahavagga ' we read that Siha, a general-in-chief 
of the Licchavis, was a disciple of Nigantha Nataputta ( = Mahavira). 
When the Buddha visited Vaisali, Siha wished to see him, having 
heard reports of his greatness ; but Mahavira dissuaded him, pointing 
out the defects in the doctrines preached by the Buddha. Sihas 
enthusiasm for the Buddha abated for the time, but was again 
roused by the discussions of the other Licchavis, so that he finally 
did pay a visit to the Buddha, who gave him a long discourse on 
the Buddhist doctrine. Siha was converted to the Buddhist faith. 
One day he invited the Buddha and the Bhikkhus to take their 
meal at his house, and procured meat at the market to feed them. 
But the Jains spread a false report that Siha had killed an ox and 
made a meal for the ' Samaria Gotama ', and that the Samana Gotama 
was knowingly eating the meat of an animal killed for this very 

1 Prof, and Mrs. Rhvs Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha, Pt. II, p. no, f-U- 2 - 
See also R. P. Chanda's Mediaeval Sculpture in Eastern India, Col. Vmv. Journal 
{Arts). Vol. III. , „ VII 

* Jaina Siltras, Pt. I, Ayaranga-siUra , trsl. H. Jacobi, S.B.E., Vol. ICWi. 

"See Vinaya Texts, trsl. Rhys Davids and Oldenberg, S.B.E., Vol. XVII. 
pp. io8fi. 


purpose, and was therefore responsible for the killing of the animal. 1 
This false report circulated by them only made Siha firmer in his 
zeal for his new faith, but the story shows that the number of the 
Niganthas at Vaisali was sufficiently large to defy the influence 
ot such an important man as Siha, and this is also confirmed by the 
story of Saccaka, a Nigantha. who had the hardihood to challenge 
the Buddha himself to a discussion on philosophical tenets before 
an assemblage of five hundred Licchavis. 

We read in the MajjHma Nikaya* that the Nlganthaputta 
Saccaka told the Licchavis of Ids intention to defeat the ' Samana 
Gotama' in argument, and induced 500 of them to go with him 
to the Mahavana to listen to the discussion. He approached the 
place where the Bhikkhus were walking up and down and told 
them • We are anxious to see Gotama, the Blessed One . The 
Buddha was seated to spend the day in meditation at the foot 
of a tree in the Mahavana. Saccaka with a large number of 
Licchavis went up to him; then arguments relating to the samghas 
and rasas, and some knotty points of Buddhist psychology and 
metaphysics were started between Saccaka and the Buddha. 
Saccaka, being defeated, invited the Buddha to dinner. The 
Licchavis were informed of this, and asked to bring whatever they 
liked to the dinner, which would be held on the following day. 
At the break of day, the Licchavis brought five hundred dishes 
for the Buddha. The Niganthaputta and the Licchavis became 
greatly devoted to the Buddha. ■ 

The Buddha paid at least three visits, but probably many 
more, to Vaisali; and the Pah works have recorded many occasions 
similar to those mentioned above, on which the Licchavis sought 
his aid for the solution of numerous problems of re llgion and dogma^ 

Once when the Buddha was staying m the Kufagarasala in 
the Mahavana, a Licchavi named Bhaddiya paid a vis, £ him and 
asked him whether it was true that heemployed mapc spells to 
attract converts. Thereupon the Buddha exp i«^^' »*g 
of -kmala and akusala-iMmma' saying that his teach ng did indeed 
rest on fact. Bhaddiya, delighted with the exposition, forthwith 
declared himself a foUower of the Buddha^ «_xa,« was , t 

On another occasion we find that when the Buddha was at 
Vaisali two Licchavis, named S^ho and Abhag approached 
him, and asked his opinion as to the relative °^*P™*f, 
conduct' (sila^ni^h^^^^^^^^Jti^- 

1 Vi„ya Tals, S.B.E., Vol. XVII, p. 116. 

<• Mijihina iHliiW, Vol. I, pp. 227-37 (C«ta«« *« Sudo). 

» Ai&ttam Nikiya (P.T.S.), Vol. II, pp. I9<^4- 

* Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 200-2. 


Another time a Licchavi minister {mahamatra) named Kandaka 
approached the place where the Buddha was, and the Buddha 
explained to him the four Dhammas. 1 On another occasion when 
the Buddha was at Vaisali, there were 500 Licchavis assembled 
at the Sarandada-cetiya. They had a discussion about the five 
kinds of 'rare gems' (elephant, horse, jewel, woman, and house- 
holder), and asked the Buddha's opinion, whereupon he solved 
the problem in an unexpected way. 3 ,,..,.. .,'j 

The Anguttara Nikaya tells of a large number oi distinguished 
Licchavis who went to see the Buddha when he was at Vaisali; 
and also narrates how on another occasion, when the Buddha was 
at Vaisali, he was worshipped by 500 Licchavis arrayed in various 
coloured garments, ornaments and trappings. 3 

A certain Afijana-Vaniva was born at Vaisali in the family 
of a raja. During his adolescence, the three-fold panic of drought, 
sickness and non-human foes afflicted the Vajjian territory. After- 
wards, the Buddha put a stop to tlie panic and addressed a great 
gathering. Hearing his discourse, the prince attained faith, left the 
world, and eventually became an Arahat. 4 Another son of a raja 
who was converted by the Buddha was Vajjiputta, 'the son of the 
Vajjis'. 5 

I11 the Samyutta Nikaya" we read of Mahali, a Licchavi, who 
went to the Buddha and told him that Purana Kassapa was of 
opinion that beings suffered or were purified without cause. The 
Buddha refuted this theory. The Anguttara Nikaya'' also speaks 
of a Licchavi named Mahali, at whose request the Buddha expounded 
the causes of merit and demerit. 8 

The Buddha exercised a remarkable influence even over the 
fiercest of the Licchavis. For instance, it was said of a certain 
Licchavi prince that he was so very fierce, cruel, passionate and 
vindictive that none dared to utter more than two or three words 
in his presence. At last his parents resolved to bring him to the 
Buddha for correction. Accordingly he was brought before the 
Buddha,' who painted a convincing picture of the results of cruelty 

1 Samyutta Nikaya (P.T.S.), Vol. V, pp. 3.S9-90. 

a Anguttara Nikdva, Vol, III, pp. T67-8. 

s Ibid., Vol. V, p. 133. 

4 Theragutha, V, 55 and comm.; Psalms vj the Urethral (P.T.S.), p. 5 <K 

» Ibid,, V, 119 and comm,; ibid., p. 106. 

» Pt. Ill, pp. '68-70. 

» Vol. V, pp. 86-7. ; . , 

8 For other discissions between the Licchavis and the Buddha or his cruet 
disciples, see Anguttara Nikaya (P.T.S.), I, pp. 320-22; II, pp. 190-94, 200-02; 
Samyutta Nikaya (P.T.S.), Vol. IV, pp. 261-2; Vol. V, pp. 163-5. 


and wickedness. After this exhortation, the prince's heart mira- 
culously became filled with love and kindness.' 

Among the Licchavi women who were converted by the Buddha, 
we read of Siha, Jenti, Vasetthi, and Ambapali. 

'Siha, a niece of the Licchavi general Siha, was bom at Vaisali 
at the time of Gotama Buddha. When she attained years of dis- 
cretion, one day she heard the Master preaching. She became a 
believer, obtained the consent of her parents to enter the Order, 
and eventually became an Arahat. 2 

The case of Jenti or Jenta was similar. She was born in a 
princely family of the Licchavis at Vaisali, and won Arahatship 
after hearing the Dhamma preached by the Buddha. 3 Another 
Licchavi woman, VasitthI, was born in a clansman's family at 
Vaisali. Her parents gave her in marriage to a clansman's son 
of equal position. She had a son. When the child was able to 
run about, he died. Overwhelmed with grief, Vasitthi came to 
Mithila, and there she saw the Buddha. At the sight of the Buddha 
she regained her normal mind; and he taught her the outlines of 
the Dhamma, whereupon she soon attained Arahatship.* 

We have read of the courtesan Amrapali, who gave a vihara 
to the Buddha. For further details of her life, see Thengatha, 
V, 252fT. {Psalms of the Sisters, pp. 120-1, 125). 

Government and Administration of Justice 

The Licchavis formed a republic in the sense that there was 
no hereditary monarch, the power of the State being vested in the 
assemblv of citizens. It does not appear to have been a completely 
democratic republic, but an oligarchy, citizenship being confined 
to members of the confederate clans. There is ample evidence 
to show that in ancient times this form of government, as described 
in the Buddhist books, was much more in vogue than we are led 
to imagine from later literature. 

The Licchavis formed what was called a samgha or gapa 
that is, an organised corporation. One of the Buddhist canonical 
books, the Maijhima Nikaya* speaks of the Vajjisand the Mallas 
as forming samghas and ganas, i.e. clans governed by ^an organised 
corporation and not by an individual sovereign. . The Mahavastu 
says that when plague raged in Vaisali, a Licchavi named Tomara 

1 Ekapanna. Jataka, Fausboll, Jataka, Vol. I, pp. 504 s ' 
'• Therig'aiha, V, 77ft.; Psalms of the Sisters, pp. 53-4- 
' Ibid. , V, 21 and 22 ; Psalms of the Sisters, pp. 23-4. 
I Ihid.,V, 133a.; iW.pp- 79-Su- 
5 P.T.S., Vol. I, p. 231. 



was elected by the gana to appeal to the Buddha and bring him 
to the city. 

Kautilya says 1 that the Licchavis and various other tribes 
were'rafa-sabda-ufiajivinah'. This apparently means that among 
these peoples each citizen had the right to call himself a raja, 'king', 
i.e. a dignitary who did not owe allegiance or pay revenue to any 
one else. Each citizen not merely looked upon himself as a raja, 
but considered that his title should be recognised not only by his 
fellow clansmen but also by the other people of India. This is 
corroborated by the description of the Licchavis given in the 
Lalitavistara, which says that at Vaisali there was no respect for 
age, nor for position, whether high or middle or low, each one 
thinking that he was a raja. 2 Kautilya 's account shows that this 
designation of each individual clansman was not confined to the 
Licchavis, but was shared by them with many other warrior peoples 
of Northern India. Savaraswami in his commentary __on the 
Purvamimamsa Sutra, Book II, says that the word 'raja' is a 
synonym for Ksatriya, and states that even in his time the word 
was used by the Andhras to designate a Ksatriya. On his authority, 
it can be said that the word ' raja ' in early times designated a mem- 
ber of the Ksatriya caste, and subsequently acquired the specialised 
meaning of ' king ' . 

In practice the rank of raja must have been restricted to a 
comparatively small section of the community, because we learn 
from the Ekapanna Jataka that besides the rajas, there were the 
uparajas, senapatis, etc. What the real number of de facto rajas 
was, we do not know. The Mahdvastu s speaks of the twice 84,000 
Licchavi rajas residing within the city of Vaisali. The Pah com- 
mentaries, e.g. the preambles to the Cullakalinga Jataka A and 
the Ekapanna Jataka 5 speak of seven thousand seven hundred 
and seven rajas of Vaisali. The Kalpasutra speaks of only nine 
(Jaina Sutras, Pt. I, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, p. 266). 

Kautilya 6 observes that all these samghas by virtue of their 
being united in such corporations, were unconquerable by others. 
He further observes that for a king, a corporation was the best 
and most helpful of all allies, because of the power derived from 
their union which made them invincible. When Ajatasatru sent 
his prime minister [mahamatra) to ascertain the views of the Buddha 

1 See Arthaiasira, trsl. R. Shama Shastri, p. 455. 

1 'Ekaika e;;a >nn>ty>i>e aham raja, ahum rajeti.' Lalitavistara, ed. Lefmaim, 
Vol. I, p. 21; BiH. Indica Series, Chap. Ill, 23. 

3 Vol. I, p. 271. * Fausboll, Jataka, Vol. Ill, p. 1 

6 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 504. e Arthaiastra (2nd Ed.), p. 378- 


with regard to Ms proposedextermination of trie Vrjis, the Buddha 
said to Ananda, 'So long, Ananda, as the Vajjians hold these full 
and frequent public assemblies; so long may they be expected 
not to decline but to prosper'. 1 

The public hall where the Licchavis used to hold their meetings 
was called the Sanihdgdra, and there they discussed both religion 
and politics. We have seen in the story of the conversion of Slha 
that the Licchavis met at the Sanihdgdra to discuss the teaching 
of the Buddha. The procedure that was followed in these assem- 
blies may be gathered, as D. R. Bhandarkar * has pointed out, 
from an account of the procedure followed at a ceremony of ordi- 
nation in the samgha. oi the Buddhist Bhikkhus. There can be 
no doubt that in organising the Buddhist samgha, the Buddha took 
as his model the political samghas of N.E. India, especially 
that of the Licchavis whose corporation, as we have seen, he 
esteemed very highly. Fortunately for us, the rules of procedure 
followed in the Buddhist community or samgha have been preserved 
in the description of the upasampadd or ordination ceremony in 
the Patimokkha section of the Vinaya Pitaka, and from this des- 
cription we can form an idea of the procedure followed in the poli- 
tical samgha of the Licchavis. First of all, an officer called the Asana- 
panndp'aka (regulator of seats) was elected, whose function seems 
to have been to seat the members of the congregation in order of 
seniority. 3 As in the Buddhist congregation, so among the 
Licchavis, the elders of_the clans were highly respected, as we see 
from the Mahdftarinibbana Suttanta. 4 

The form of moving a Resolution in the council thus assembled 
and seated may be gathered from the full description of procedure 
in the Buddhist samgha, for which see Rhys Davids and Oldenberg, 
Vinaya Texts, Pt. I, pp. 169-70. 

As might be expected in such an assembly, there were often 
violent disputes and quarrels with regard to controversial topics. 
In such cases, the disputes were settled by the votes of the majority 
and this voting was bv ballot; voting tickets or salakas were served 
out to the voters, and an officer of approved honesty and impar- 
tiality was elected to collect these tickets or voting pa per_s^ The 
appointment of this officer, who was called the Salaka-gahapaka, 
was also made by the whole assembly. 

L Buddhist Suttas, S.B.E., Vol. XI, p. 3. 

'- Carmicitad Lectures, iqiS, p. 181. 

^ Vinava Texts, S.B.E., Vol. XX, p. 408, E.n. 

1 Buddhist Suttas, S.B.E., Vol. XI, p. 3- _ ITT ne 

■ Cullavagga, S.B.E.. Vol. XX ; Vinaya Texts, Pt. Ill, p. 25- 


There was also a provision for taking the votes of absent 
members. The Mahdvagga 1 mentions an example of a declaration 
of the consent of an absent member (of the congregation of monks) 
to an official Act. Such a declaration was called Chanda. 

A quorum was required, and difficulty was often experienced 
in securing' the right number, so that the Buddha exhorted the 
Bhikkhus to help to complete the quorum. 3 There are other 
detailed rules in the Vinaya Pitaka for the regulation of the 
assembly. This elaboration of the procedure, as well as the use 
of technical terms for each detail, shows that the organisation of 
these popular assemblies had already been highly developed among 
the political samghas like that of the Licchavis before the Buddha 
adopted them for the regulation of his religious samgha or con- 
gregation. 3 

The Tibetan works mention a Nayaka who was the chief 
magistrate of the Licchavis and ' was elected by the people or rather 
by the ruling clans of Licchavis'. 4 We do not know exactly what 
his functions were ; perhaps he was an executive officer for carrying 
out the decisions of the assembly. 

There does not appear to have been any outstanding, figure 
among the Licchavis, comparable to 6uddhodana among the Sakyas. 
The preamble to the Ekapanna Jdtaka 5 relates that of the Rajas 
who lived in Vaisali permanently exercising the rights of sovereignty, 
there were seven thousand, seven hundred and seven, and there 
were quite as many Upafdjds (subordinate officials), Senapatis 
(generals) , and Bhdndagdrikas (treasurers) . A passage in the 
preamble to the Cuttakdlinga Jdtaka 6 also mentions seven thousand, 
seven hundred and seven Licchavi rajas, who lived at Vaisali. 
The number seven thousand, seven hundred and seven cannot be 
the number of all the Licchavis living in the town of Vaisali; in 
fact we are told in the Mahdvasiu that the Licchavis, who went 
out of Vaisali to meet the Buddha on his first visit to that city, 
numbered as many as twice eighty-four thousand, which was not 
an incredible number for such an extensive city as Vaisali. But 
7,707 is evidently an artificially concocted number, seven being 
used from the idea that it had some magic potency. It is significant 

_a, S.B.U., Vol. XIII, p. 277. 2 ibid., pp. 307-9- 

* For the democratic organisation of the Licchavis, see D. R. IShandarkar, 
Curmichael Lectures, iot8, pp. 179-84. 

* RocMiill, Life of the Buddha, p. 62. 

s Fausboll, Jataka, Vol. I, p. 504: ' Niccakalam raj-jam karetva vasaniau-i'n 
vera rajunam sattasahassani satta en riijiino h.onti, Litlaka vera iipariijdno, taitaki 
seihipiiUnn, iatlaka bhandagarikd.' 

e Ibid., Vol. Ill, pi 1. 


that none of the canonical texts themselves gives this number, 
which occurs only in a later commentary, the Nidanakathd of the 

Bhandarkar says that an Upardja or Viceroy, a Sendpati or 
general, and a Bhandagarika or treasurer formed the private staff 
of every licchavi Raja. He adds that each Raja had personal 
property of his own which was managed by himself with the help 
of these three officers. This seems to be likely, because the existence 
of a Bhandagarika attached to each Raja necessarily implies that 
each Raja had his own separate Bhanddgdra or treasury. 

There must have been officers who recorded the decisions of 
the Council. A passage in the Mahdgovinda Suttanta of the Digha 
Nikdya seems to justify this conclusion. In describing a meeting 
of the thirty-three gods in the Tavatimsa heaven, it is said that 
after the deliberations were over, four great kings recorded the 
conclusions arrived at, and on this passage the translators observe, 
'This sounds verv mucli as if the Four Great Kings were looked 
upon as Recorders of what had been said. They kept the minutes 
of the meeting. If so (the gods being made in the image of men), 
there must have been such Recorders at the meetings in the Mote- 
Halls of the clans.' 1 

A passage in the preamble to the Bhaddasala Jdtaka mentions 
a tank, the water of which was used at the ceremony of abhiseka 
or coronation of the kulas or families of the gana rajas of Vaisali. 2 
This may refer to the ceremony performed when a Liechavi raja 
was elected to a seat in the assembly of the State, or it may denote 
that the ceremony of coronation was performed when a young 
Licchavi kumara (prince) succeeded to the title and position of 
his father. 

The Atthakathd on the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta 5 gives an 
account of "the judicial procedure among the Licchavis. When 
a person who had committed an offence appeared before the \ajjian 
rajas thev surrendered him to the Viniccaya-Mahamattas, 1 e. 
officers whose business it was to make enquiries and examine the 
accused with a view to ascertaining whether he was innocent or 
guiltv. If thev found the man innocent, they released him ; but 
if they considered him guilty, they made him over to the Vohankas, 
i.e. persons learned in law and custom. These could discharge 

1 Dialogues of the Buddha, Ft. II, p. 263. ,, 

2 FansbSa, Jdtaka, VoL IV, p. 148: -VesSllnagare ganata^akulanam abhiseka- 
mangalafokhharamm, . . .' See also D. R. Bhandarkar, Carmwhael Lectures, 1918, 
pp. 150-1. 

* Smnangaluvilasini, II, 519 (P.T.S.). 


Mm if they found him innocent; if they held him guilty, they trans- 
ferred him to certain officers called Suttadharas, that is, officials 
who kept up the sutra (sutta) or thread of (ancient) law and custom. 
They in their turn made further investigation, and if satisfied that 
the accused was innocent, they discharged him. If, however, they 
considered him guilty, he was made over to the Atthakulaka 1 flit, 
'the eight castes or tribes') which was evidently a judicial institution 
composed of judges representing the eight kulas or tribes of the 

The Atthakulaka, if satisfied of the guilt of the accused, made 
him over to the Senafiati or commander of the army, who delivered 
him over to the Upardjd or sub-king, and the latter in his turn 
handed him over to the Raja. The Raja released the accused 
if he was innocent ; if he was found guilty, the Raja referred to the 
Pavenipotthaka, that is, the fustaka or book recording the law 
and precedents, and prescribing the punishment for each particular 
offence. The Raja, 2 having measured the culprit's offence by means 
of that standard, used to inflict a proper sentence. 3 

Political History 

It is from the Buddhist literature that we first realise the im- 
portance of the Licchavis. In the Brahmana literature, though there 
is repeated mention of Videha, which in the Buddha's time joined with 
the L-icchavis and formed a confederation, there is no mention of the 
Licchavis. It is remarkable that while the Mallas, their immediate 
neighbours, are mentioned in the Mahabharata, the Licchavis are not 
found among the peoples that were encountered by the Pandava 
brothers in their peregrinations, or on their mission of conquest. 
In the sixth century B.C., however, we find them in the Jama 
and Buddhist books as a powerful people in the enjoyment of 
great prosperity and of a high social status among the ruling 
races of Eastern India, and, as we have seen, they had already 
evolved a system of government and polity bearing no small 

1 The Hon. G. Tumour says that no satisfactory explanation can be obtained 
as to the nature of the office held by these functionaries. It is inferred to be a 
judicial institution composed of judges from all the eight castes. 

2 It seems that the ' Raja' who was the highest authority in the administration 
of criminal justice was different from the ordinary rajas who constituted the popular 
assembly. He was perhaps the senior amongst the rajas, or was one elected from 
time to time to administer criminal justice. 

3 G. Tumour, An Examination of the Pali Buddhistical Annals, J.A.S.B-, 
December, r838, pp. 993-4, f.n. 


resemblance to some of the democracies 1 of the western world. 
It must have taken a long time to develop such institutions. But 
we must not imagine that the system was a creation of the Licchavis ; 
for it seems that the samgha form of government was the normal 
form in ancient India even among the peoples that had a king 
at their head. The earliest Indian tradition of a king is that of a 
person elected by the people and ruling for the good of the people. 8 
The procedure of conducting the deliberations of an assembly 
must have been developing from the earliest Vedic times, as the 
samiti and the parisad were well-known institutions in the Rgveda. 
The Licchavis must have modelled their procedure on that which 
was already in vogue among the Indian Aryans, allowing a century 
for the evolution of the particular form of government of the 
Licchavis from the already existing system. Their emergence from 
obscurity may fairly be placed at the beginning of the seventh 
century B.C. It is true that we do not find the Licchavis among 
the Vedic peoples, but in the fourth century B.C. (the time of the 
Artkaiastra) they are mentioned along with the Kuru-Paiicalas 
and the Madras, i.e. with some of the powerful races of the Brah- 
manic period. 

' We know nothing of the history of the Licchavis during the 
period of their early growth and development. The earliest political 
fact of any importance that we know of is that a Licchayi girl 
was given in marriage to Seniya or Srenika Blmbisara, king of 
Magadha. This Licehavi lady, according to the Nirayavah Sutra 
one of the early Jaina works, was Cellana, the daughter of Cetaka, 
one of the Rajas of Vaisali, whose sister Ksatriyani Tnsala was the 
mother of Mahavira. In a Tibetan Life of the Buddha, her name 
is given as Srlbhadra, 4 and in some places she is named Madda 
She is, however, usually called Vaidehi in the Buddhist books, and 
her son Ajatasatru is frequently designated 'Vedehiputto , or the 
son of the Videhan princess. 

■ It may be argued that the Licehavi constitution was not a democracy, since 
citizenship was confined to the Licchayi clan, but in reply it may be pointed out 
that even in the great democracy of Athens, ever, resident was not a citizen. "lne 
Metics and the Slaves, for instance, were excluded from citizenship. ,,.„„.,, 

' See, e.g., the story of Bena and Prthu, MahSSkunta. Smkp.r.a,, Vangavasi 
Ed., Chap. 60, verse 04. , ,. ... 

> Jacobi, /«>«. Salms, S.B.E., Vol. XXII, Introduction, p. =u. 

' S. l^Da'S, and S. Sumahgala Thera, Tko Book 0) O. Kini,ei Soyin e s, 
Pt. I, p. 38, n. 1. 

« SayiyuUa Nikaya, Pt. II, p. 268. 


The Divyavaddna in one passage 1 speaks of Ajatasatm as 
Vaidehiputra, and elsewhere 8 it states that King Birnbisara reigned 
at Rajagrha with his chief queen Vaidehl, and Ajatasatru, his son. 
The Tibetan Dulva gives the name of Vasavi to Ajatasatru's mother, 
and narrates a story regarding Ajatasatru's origin which cannot 
be tra'ced in the Pali Canon. 3 

D. R. Bhandarkar holds that 'this matrimonial alliance was 
a result of the peace concluded after the war between Birnbisara 
and the Licchavis',* and that 'Birnbisara thus appears to have 
seized Magadha after expelling the Vajjis beyond the Ganges'. 3 
Bhandarkar's theory is based on Rhys Davids' supposition that 
the expression Vesalim Magadham puram in verse 1013 of the 
Suttanipata 6 (P.T.S.) refers to one and the same city, taking 
Magadham puram in apposition to Vesali. But the commentator 
has taken Magadiiam to be a synonym of Rajagaha (= Rajagrha).' 
Mention of the Pasana-cetiya in the same verse also goes to show 
that Magadham puram was not Vaisali. In several places we 
find mention of the caityas or cetiyas round about Vaisali, but 
nowhere do we come across a Pasana-cetiya. From verse 1014 
of the Sutianipata it appears that this cetiya was situated on a 
mountain peak. It is quite possible, therefore, that it was one 
of the cetiyas round about Rajagrha, and most probably it was 
the Grdhrakuta (Pali Gijjhakuta) monastery. There seems to have 
been some basis, however, for concluding that there was a war 
between Birnbisara and the Licchavis, as such a war is referred 
to incidentally in the Tibetan Dulva, in a passage which traces 
the birth of Abhaya ('fearless'), another son of Birnbisara, also 
by the Licchavi woman. 3 This story, which makes Abhaya or 
Abhayakumara, as the Jaina books have it, a son of Ambapali 
(AmrapaH), the courtesan of Vaisali, is not confirmed by the Pah 
books, where her son by Birnbisara is called, Vimala-Kondafifia, 
who became a Bhikkhu. 9 

The Licchavis appear to have been on friendly terms with 
King Pasenadi (Prasenajit) of Kosala, who speaks of them as his 

1 Divyavaddna (Cowell and Neil), p. 55. 2 Ibid., p. 545- 

s RocWiill, Life of the Buttdha, pp. 63-4. 

4 Carmicluul Lectures, 1918, p. 74. 6 Ibid., p. 73- 

• P.T.S. (new edition), p. 194. 

7 Suttampa!;t C'-m/Hi'fitary, p. 584: 'Magadham puranti M agadhapurain 
Rdjagakan-ti adhippdyo' . 

8 Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 64. 

a Psalms of the Sisters, pp. 120-1; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 6g. 


friends. 1 The relation of the Licchavis with their neighbours, 
the Mafias, also seems to have been friendly in general, as is 
evidenced by the Mafias standing by the Licchavis against their 
common foe, Ajatasatru. The Jaina books also speak of nine 
Malla chiefs and nine Licchavi chiefs showing reverence to Mahavira 
at the time of his passing. There were, however, occasional hosti- 
lities between the two tribes, as is shown by the story of Bandhula, 
a Mallian orince, who was victorious over the Licchavi chiefs. 2 

We must now speak of the relations of the Licchavis with 
Ajatasatru, the son and successor of Bimbisara. The Magadhan 
king must have felt that the confederacy formed the greatest bar 
to the realisation of his idea of Magadhan expansion; and we find 
him taking the dreadful resolve to root out and destroy the Vajjians. 1 

According to one account, 4 the Vajjians attacked Ajatasatru 
many times This enraged him, and in order to baffle their attempts 
he had a fort constructed at Pataligama, and finally annihilated 
them. It is probable that Ajatasatru was partly influenced by 
liis fear of his foster-brother Abhaya, who had Licchavi blood m 
him. At this time, too, the Licchavis were gaming strength day 
by day, and no doubt becoming increasingly arrogant. In the 
SumangalaviWsim account' we read that there was a port near 
the Ganges extending over a yojana, half of which belonged to 
Ajatasatru and half to the Licchavis. There was a mountain not 
far from it, and at the foot of this mountain was a mine of precious 
substance IMahomhahhanda). Once Ajatasatru was late in arriv- 
ing there and the Licchavis took away all the treasure-; and this 
happened again the following year. Having sustained a heavy 
loss, Ajatasatru decided on vengeance. He realised, however, 
that the Licchavis were numerically stronger; so he conceived the 
idea of destroying their unity by sowing seeds of dissension among 
them. He sent his prime minister Vassakara to the Buddha 
who predicted that in future the Licchavis would be dehcate and 
pleasure-loving, but that at present they could not be .overcome 
save bv propitiating them with tributes or dissolving their 
internal unity When Vassakara reported this to Ajatasatru the 
king did not agree to propitiate the Vajjians with tnbute so he 
decided to break up their union, and arranged to bring a tnimped- 
up charge against Vassakara, whereupon the latter feigning anger 
at his disgrace, would go to the Vajjis and offer to bet r ay Ajatasatru 

■ Majjkimi NikSya, P.T.S., Vol. H, pp. 100-1 (AngulmSl* Sulla). 

'Ibid., p. 18. ' ' *' 3 ' 



to them. This plan was duly carried out, and the Vajjis offered 
Vassakara the same post as he had held in Magadha, of 'Judicial 
Prime Minister'. Vassakara accepted this post, and very soon 
acquired a reputation for his able administration of justice. After 
some time he started sowing dissension among the Licchavis, making 
them suspicious of each other and of their chiefs. In this way 
he succeeded in the course of three years in bringing about such 
disunion among the rulers that none of them would tread the same 
road together. He then sent a mission to Ajatasatru, telling him 
that the time to strike had arrived. The king forthwith assembled 
his forces and set out. The Vajjians, on receiving intimation 
thereof, sounded the tocsin calling the citizens to action; but no 
one responded to the call, and Ajatasatru entered the city and 
routed the inhabitants. 1 Thus the Magadhan kingdom was very 
much extended during his reign. 

Of the subsequent history of the Licchavis we know very 
little. But it is certain that they were not completely exterminated 
by Ajatasatru. He seems to have succeeded in making the Licchavis 
acknowledge his suzerainty and pay him revenue, but they must 
have been independent in the matter of internal management, 
and maintained their democratic institutions, for Kautilya speaks 
of them two centuries later as living under a samgha form of govern- 
ment, and advises King Candragupta Maurya to seek the help of 
these samghas which, on account of their unity and concord, were 
almost unconquerable. 

It may safely be presumed that the Licchavis acknowledged 
the suzerainty of Candragupta's grandson Asoka. After this we 
next meet them (as Licchivis) in Manu's Code, some time between 
200 B.C. and 200 A.D., and then we do not hear of thern again 
until the fourth century A.D., when their name appears in the 
records of the Imperial Guptas. 

At the beginning of the fourth century A.D., Candragupta I, 
a son-in-law of the LicchavJ family and son of Ghatotkaca Gupta, 
established a new kingdom. 2 A gold coin was introduced under 
the name of Candragupta I by his son, the emperor Samudragupta, 
who succeeded in establishing his suzerainty over a great part of 
India. On the obverse of the coin were incised the figuresof 
Candragupta and his queen Kumaradevi. The former is offering 
an object (which on some coins appears clearly as a ring) to^his 
queen. The words 'Candragupta' and 'Kumaradevi', or 'Sri 
Kumaradevi', or 'Kumaradevi Srih' are inscribed in the Brahmi 

1 Digha Niknyii Comm. [Sumangiiktviidsini), II, 524 (P.T.S.). 
! R. D. Banerjea, Priicitni Miutrd, p. 121. 


character of the fourth century A.D., and on the reverse was en- 
graved the figure of Laksmi, the goddess of Fortune, seated on a 
lion couchant, with the legend 'Licchavayah', 'the Licchavis'. 
With this is to be combined the significant fact that Samudragupta 
in his Allahabad Inscription takes pride in describing himself as 
'Licchavidauhitra', 'the son of a daughter of the Licchavis'. This 
combined evidence justifies the conclusion that in the fourth century 
A.D., when the Guptas rose to power, the Licchavis must have 
possessed considerable political power in N.E. India. It is 
quite probable that Candragupta's dominions received considerable 
expansion by the addition of the country which he obtained through 
his Licchavi wife Kumaradevi, perhaps by succession. 

Fleet, in editing the inscriptions in which the Gupta-Licchavi 
connection is mentioned, observes: 'Proof of friendly relations 
between the early Guptas and the Licchavis, at an early time, 
is given by the marriage of Candra Gupta I with Kumara Devi, 
the daughter of Licchavi or of a Licchavi king. And that the 
Licchavis were then at least of equal rank and power with the 
early Guptas, is shewn by the pride in this affiance manifested 
by the latter.' ' Fleet even goes so far as to declare: 'In all pro- 
bability the so-called Gupta era is a Licchavi era, dating either 
from a time when the republican or tribal constitution of the 
Licchavis was abolished in favour of a monarchy; or from the com- 
mencement of the reign of Jayadeva I, as the founder of a royal 
house in a branch of the tribe that had settled m Nepal.' ihe 
fact that this roval house that was planted by the Licchavis 111 
Nepal about the period 330 to 355 A.D. by Jayadeva I" was all 
along Brahmanical, proves that the Licchavis tad not entirely 
dissociated themselves from the Brahmamc faith. 

Allan ' presumes that it was to keep up the memory of his lather, 
Candragupta, and his mother, Kumaradevi, that the com bearing 
their names and that of the Licchavis was issued by Samudragupta. 
It is not improbable that the inscription ' Licchavayah which occurs 
on Candragupta's gold coins together with the name of his queen 
Kumaradevi may signify that she belonged to a royal fanuly of 
the Licchavis previously reigning at Patabputra ' (modern Patna), 
which seems to have been the original capital of tie Gupta em l »«■ 
A similar opinion is held by V. A. Smith, who says that Candragupta, 
a local raja at or near Patahputra, married Kumaradevi, a princess 

■ Fleet, O.PU I,s„ittiom-C°rP" !"■ **. « VO. M 'ff£™ v \ " 5 ' 

2 Ibid., p. 136. 

4 Allan, Gupta Coins, pp. 8-11. 

s Rapson, Indian Coins, pp. 24, 25. 



belonging to the Licchavi clan, in or about the year 308. 1 In 
ancient times, the Ijcchavis of Vaisali had been the rivals of the 
kings of Pataliputra, but Candragupta was now elevated through 
his Licchavi' connection from the rank of a local chief. 

The Nepal inscriptions point out that there were two distinct 
houses, one of which, known as the Thakuri family, is mentioned 
in the Vamsavalt, but is not recorded in' the inscriptions; and the 
other was the Licchavi or the Suryavamsl family which issued its 
charters from the house or palace called Managrba and uniformly 
used an era with the Gupta epoch. 2 

1 V. A. Smith, Early History of India (4th Ed.), p. 295. 

2 Fleet, Corpus Inscriptionitm Tndicarum, Vol. ill, p. 135. 


The Utkalas 

Some Puranas seem to imply that one of the ten sons of Manu 
was Ila-Sudvumna, a Kimpurusha ' who in his turn had three 
sons, Utkala", Vinatasva • and Gaya who enjoyed respectively the 
territories of Utkala, an undefined western country and Gaya. 3 
These three territories have sometimes been collectively designated 
in the Puranas as Saudyumnas.' The Saudyumnas thus seem to 
have occupied the hillv tracts from Gaya to Orissa. 

Epic tradition' connects the Utkalas with the Udras, Mekalas 
Kalihgas and Andhras. The Dwnaparran of the Mjltabhamla would 
have us believe that Kama conquered the Utkalas along with the 
Mekalas, Paundras, Kalingas, Andhras, Nisadas, Tngarttas and 
Vahlikas In the Ramayana the Utkala country is associated with 
the Mekala and Dasaraa countries . In sending his army of monkeys 
to the different countries in quest of Slta, Sugriva asked S^ena to 
send his retinue among other countries of the south to Mekala, 
Utkala and Dasarna (Canto XLII). , -, , - , u a A 

From the Epic tradition as contained m the Mahabharata c ted 
above, it is evident that even as early as the period when the tradition 
was recorded, Utkala was distinguished from Odra or Ud a and the 
distinction seems to have been maintained throughout m ancient 
Indian hterature and inscriptions. It is equally evident that it 
was distinguished from Kalinga as well though a ver se in the 
Vanaparvan of the Mahabhdrata' seems to suggest that ™?" 
one time formed a part of Kalinga. The ^S h '' m ^i°l^ 'lie 
however represents Utkala as an independent kingdom. The 
toSStJSSuL suggests that Utkala and Kahngaw™ .separate 
kingdoms. ■ According to the Raghuvamsa, the easternj^nd^uyrt 

1 For a critical and synthetic study of Panranic legends 

i this connection, : 

P ^ te O;iS«nl J t»t 3 ™ S «Pu, 5 n i ,s,orHarita S v« according to Mat,,./***. 

Gayasya tu Gayapuri. 

* E.g., V«vuf>itwi«, py.m, 2tm. nromlt , arraH Chap. IV, 122. 

s Mbk., Bhismapurvan, Chap. IX, 34«. DT °W™ ™ "' g_ l 8 4? , 7 . 

8 Vanaparvan, Chap. 114- ' 



Utkala seems to have extended to the river Kapisa (probably identical 
with either the modern Suvarnarekha, according to Lassen, or with 
the Kasai in Midnapur, according to Pargiter) and to the realm of 
the Mekalas on the west, with whom they are constantly associated, 
and who were inhabitants presumably of the Mekala bills. In the 
Apadana of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta-pitaka, a book of 
the Pali Canon, Okkala or Ukkala or Utkalas were a tribe mentioned 
along with the Mekalas. 1 Southward must have extended the 
realm of the Kalihgas. From this, Pargiter deduced that Utkaia 
must have comprised the southern portion of modern Chotanagpui, 2 
He further suggests that the reading Suhmottarah, a people of the 
eastern countries, of the Matsyapurana* should be amended to 
Suhmotkalah to mean the 'Suhmas and the Utkalas', in which case 
the Utkalas become the immediately contiguous southern neighbours 
of the Suhmas who occupied roughly the modern districts of Bankura, 
Midnapore, Purulia and Manbhum. The Markandeya Parana, 
however, locates the Utkalas as inhabiting the Vindhya mountains, 
along with the Karushas, Keralas {according to Vayu and Matsya 
Pumnas, the reading here should be Mekalas and not Keralas 
which is evidently incorrect), the Uttamaranas and the Dasarnas. 
Roughly speaking, the Utkalas were indeed a Vindhyan people 
inasmuch as the Chotanagpur Mils are just an extension of the 
Vindhya ranges. 

Coming to more definite historical times, we hardly find mention 
of the Utkalas as a people, though in later inscriptions and literature 
there are numerous references to Utkaladesa or Utkalavisaya, the 
country presumably of the Utkala people. Thus a twelfth century 
epigraph of Gahadavala Govindachandra refers to a Buddhist 
scholar Sakyaraksita, who was a resident of the Utkaladesa. Another 
inscription, also of the twelfth century (Bhuvaneswar Stone Inscrip- 
tion of Narasimha I) refers to the building of a Visnu temple by 
Candrika, sister of Narasimha, at Ekamra or modern Bhuvaneswar, 
in the Utkalavisaya. It is -obvious from this inscription that 
Utkalavisaya at this period at least comprised the Puri and 
Bhuvaneswar regions as well. Earlier, in the Bhagalpur grant of 
Narayanapala, a certain king of the Utkalas (Utkalanamddhisa) 
took fright and fled from his capital at the approach of Prince 
Jayapala of the Pala dynasty. The Badal Pillar Inscription of the 
time of Gudavamisra credits King Devapala with having eradicated 
the race of the Utkalas along with the pride of the Hunas and the 
conceit of the rulers of Dravida and Gurjara. The Rdmacaritam oi 
Sandhyakara Nandi in giving a list of foreign countries invaded by 

1 Pt. II, p. 359. 2 Markandeya P., p. 327 in. 3 Chap. CXIH. 44- 


his hero Ramapala distinguishes Utkala from Kalinga in the eleventh 
century. A Sonpur grant of Mahasivagupta Yayati, of about the 
same date, also distinguishes Utkaladesa from Kalinga and Kongoda. 
The Buddhist literature contains some interesting information 
about Utkalas or Okkalas. Two merchants, named Tapussa and 
BhalHka, 1 were on their way from Ukkala to see the Buddha who 
was at the foot of the Rajayatana tree near Uruvela. They were 
asked by their relative to offer food to the Blessed One who at first 
refused to accept it, but he afterwards accepted it and ate it up. 
The two merchants became his disciples. 2 They were wealthy 
merchants who also visited Majjhimadesa from Ukkala with five 
hundred carts. 3 Two inhabitants of Ukkala, named Vassa and 
Bhanna, did not believe in causation action on reality (ahetuvdda, 
akiriydvddd, and natthikavddd).* 

The Udras 

The earliest mention of the Udras or Odras or Audras as a 
people is, perhaps, found in the following sloka of the Manavadharma- 
idstra where the Odras are classed as outside the Brahmanical pale 
lie Mleechas) along with the Paundrakas, Dravidas, Karnbojas, 
Yavanas, Sakas, Paradas, Pahlavas, Cinas, Kiratas, Daradas and 

Sanakaistu kriydlopddimdh kshatriyajdtayah 
Vrsalatvam gatd loke brdhmanadarsanena cha 
Paundrakdschaudra Dravida Kamboja Yavandh SakaH 
Pdradah Pahlavaschaindh Kirdtd Daraddh Khaiah. 

The Apaddna, a work of the Pali Canon, mentions Oddaka 
who were the same as Odra or Udra. B 

Pliny in liis Natural History mentions the Oretes as a people ot 
India in whose country stood Mount Maleus which m another passage 
he locates amongst the Mbnedes and Snari. Cunningham identines 
the last two peoples as the Mundas andSuars, from which he is led to 
conclude that the Oretes must be the people of Onssa. But it must be 
remembered that even then we cannot definitely equate the Greek 
Oretes with the Sanskrit Odra or Udra or Audradesa 

Epic tradition connects the Udras along with the 1 ondras, 
Utkalas, Mekalas, Kalingas and Andhras." ^Accordin g to the 

> Cf. Mah&mtu, III, P- 3°3, ^here Ukkala is me~nWd.a S situated in 
Uttarapatha. , . ^ Faus b6u, I, p. 8o. 

III, 78, and Kathavatihu, I, p. 141. 

" VawparvaSil, 19S8; Bhlsmafarvan, IX, 365; Dronaparvzn, IV, 122. 


Brahmaparana (28, 29, 42) which is admittedly very late, the 
country of the Odras extended northwards to Vrajaniandala (Jajpur), 
and consisted of' three ksketras called Purushottama or Srikshetra, 
Savitu or Arkakshetra, and Birajakshetra through which flew the 
river Vaitarani. But it is somewhat strange that nowhere in early 
inscriptions do we find any mention of the people and their country. 
The first elaborate account of the people and their country is found 
in the itinerary of Hsiian Tsang. From Karnasuvarna the pilgrim 
travelled south-west for about 722 li and came to the Wu-t'u or 
U-cha country. 

'The country was above 7,000 li in circuit, and its capital 
above 20 li. The people were of violent ways, tall and of dark 
complexion, in speech and manners different from the people of 
"Mid-India". They were indefatigable students and many of them 
were Buddhists. There were above too Buddhist monasteries, and 
a myriad brethren, all Mahayanists. Of deva temples there were 
fifty, and the various sects lived pell-mell. Near the shore of the 
ocean in the south-east of this country was the city Che-li-ta-lo 
( = 'Charitrapura = Puri?), above 20 li in circuit which was a 
thoroughfare and resting-place for sea-going traders and strangers 
from distant lands.' 1 

About a century later the country of the Odras became involved 
in chaos which has been described as matsyanyaya in contemporary 
records. The celebrated Tibetan historian Taranath in his History 
of Buddhism records that Odivisa, Vanga and five other countries 
of the east plunged themselves in a chaotic political condition 2 from 
which they were rescued by the election of King Gopala on the 
throne. Odivisa of Taranath is certainly a corruption or adaptation 
of Odra-visaya. Odivisa is further mentioned by Taranath in 
connection with the reign of Devapala who is credited by him as 
having 'brought into submission the kingdom of Varendra in the 
east and afterwards the province of Odivisa'. 

The Tirumalai Rock Inscription of the thirteenth year of King 
Rajendra Cola credits the king as having seized by his great warlike 
army the Odda-visaya in the course of his northern expedition. This 
Odda-visaya is certainly identical with Odra-visaya. The Cola king, 
Raja-raja, is also said to have conquered the Odda country. Doubt- 
less, during this period, Odda-visaya came to mean the whole of the 
present Orissa country. 

1 Watters, On Yuan Ckwang, II, pp. 193-4. 
_ ■ 'There was no longer any member of it (the royal family of the Candras) 
a king; in Odivisa, in Vanga, and the other five provinces to the east, each Ksatriya, 
Krahmaua, and merchant, constituted himself king of his surroundings, but there was 
no king ruling the country.'— Taranath, Ind. Ant., IV, 1875, pp. 365-6. 


In Vedic times, the Avantis do not emerge into importance as a 
ruling Ksatriya tribe of ancient India. Their name is not found 
in the Vedic literature; but in the Mahabharata they are found to 
be one of the most powerful of the Ksatriya clans. Their dual 
monarchs, Vinda and Anuvinda, each led an aksauhim of troops to 
Duryodhana's army, and thus the Avantis made up one-fifth of the 
entire Kuril host (V, 19, 24). l The two monarchs are designated 
'maharatha' ('great warrior'}, the highest title given to an epic 
warrior (VII, 5, gg), 2 and are spoken of as wielding powerful bows. 3 
The two Avanti princes figure very prominently in the battle, and 
many are the glorious and heroic deeds with which they are credited. 
They rendered useful service to the Kaurava cause by their individual 
prowess and generalship as well as by the large army consisting of 
forces of every description which they led to battle. 4 They fought 
bravely in the field until they were slain, — by Arjuna, according to 
one account (VII, 99, 3691), and by Bhima, according to another 
(XI, 22, 617). We read of the mighty hosts of the Avantis— 
Sainvam Avantvanam — in the Karna-parvan and elsewhere (VII, 
113, 4408; VIII, 8, 235). 

The Matsyapurana (Chap. 43) traces the origin of the Avantis 
to the Haihaya dynasty of which Karttavlryarjuna was the most 
glorious ruler, and adds that Avanti was the name borne by one of 
the sons of this monarch. The Lingapurana states that out of the 
hundred sons of Karttavlryarjuna, five, namely Sura, Surasena, 
Drsta, Krsna and Yayudhvaja, ruled Avanti and acquired great 
renown. 'The Visnu-Dharmottara Mahapurana (Chap. IX) and the 
Padmapurana (Svarga Khanda, Chap. Ill) speak of Avanti as one 
of the mah'ajanapadas or chief provinces _of ancient India. The 
Skandapumna has a whole section, the Avantyakhanda, dealing 
with the sacred sites and places of pilgrimage in the country of the 
Avantis. It is stated (Chap. 43) that the god Mahadeva, after he 

1 'Avantyau ca maUpalau mahavalasamvrtau prihagaksuhimbhydm tavabhiyatau 

* ' Vi'ndanuvindavdvantyau rajopulmn makarathau." See also Mbh., V, 166, 
5753, Cal. Ed. ; BMsmaparvan, VI, 99, 4504; VI, 114, 5293. 53«9- 

8 VI, 83, 3650; VI, 94, 4195- , T „ 

* Mbh., VI, 16, 622, II, 17, 673, etc.; VI, 59. 2584; VI, 81, 355?; VI. 83, 3650- 
60; VI, 86, 3S23; VI, 102, 4666; VI, 113, 524°; VII, 14. 542: 3 5. 1083; 32, 1410. 


had destroyed the demon Tripura, visited Avantipura, which came to 
be known as Ujjavim* in honour of his victory. This Purana in the 
section of Ayodhva-mahatmya (Chap. I) relates that saints of 
UjjayinI, the Avanti capital, came to Kuruksetra with their dis- 
ciples to attend the sacrifice of Rama. 

The Puranas also speak of intermarriages between the royal 
family of the Avantis and the ruling dynasty of the Yadus. Thus 
the Visnupurana (IV, 12) and Agnipurdna (Chap. 2/5) state that 
a Yadu princess called Rajyadhidevi was married to the king of 
Avanti. She was one of the five sisters of the Yadu monarch, 
Vasudeva, son of Sura. The Visnupurana adds (IV, 14) that 
Rajyadhidevi bore two sons, Vinda and Upavinda, who are most 
probably to be identified with the Avanti princes, Vinda and 
Anuvinda of Epic fame. 

The grammarian Panini refers to Avanti in one of his sutras 
(IV, I, 176). 

With regard to the location of Avanti, the sage Dhaumya 
(Vanaparvan, Mbh.), in enumerating the places of pilgrimage in 
W. India, refers to the country of the Avantis, 1 and speaks of 
the sacred river Narmada as being situated therein. At the beginning 
of the Virataparvan, Arjuna mentions Avanti along with other 
kingdoms in W. India, namely, Surastra and Kuuti (IV, I, 12). 
The geographical connection between the Avantis and the Kuntis is 
also shown in the description of ' Bharatavarsa ' in the BMsmaparvm 
{VI, 9, 350). A path leading to the city of Avanti is referred to 
in the Nalopakhyana of the Vanaparvan (III, 61, 2317). Mrs. Rhys 
Davids notes 2 that Avanti lay north of the Vindhya mountains 
north-west of Bombay. It was one of the four chief monarchies in 
India when Buddhism arose, and was later absorbed into the- 
Mauryan empire. ' . 

Rhys Davids observes: "The country (Avanti), much of which is 
rich land, had been colonized or conquered by Aryan tribes who 
came down the Indus valley and turned west from the Gulf of Kutch. 
It was called Avanti at least as late as the second century A.D. 
(see Rudradaman's Inscription at Junagadh) but from the seventh or 
eighth century onwards, it was called Malava' (Buddhist India, p. 28). 

UjjayinI, which was situated on the Sipra, a tributary of the 
Carmanvati (Chambal), is the modern Ujjain in Gwalior, Central 
India. It was the capital of Avanti or Western Malava, and the 
residence of the Viceroy of the western provinces both under the 
Maurya and the Gupta empires. 3 

1 Mbh., Vanaparvan, III, 89, 8354; Avantisu Praticyam vai, 

■ ,■''■■■ ■ ■ . ■■■■'■. ;.. ! ■ i i ' 

3 Rapson, Ancient India, p. 175, s.v. UjjayinI. 


In the Dipavamsa, 1 we read that UjjenI (UjjayinI) was built 
by Accutagami. Watters 2 points out that the Avanti capital 
Ujayana mentioned by Hsiian Tsang is generally supposed to be the 
well-known Ujain or Ujjen {Ujjain). In some of the canonical 
scriptures, Ujain is located to the west of Kanoj, which lies between 
Ujain and Benares. 

The Chinese pilgrim Hsiian Tsang thus describes UjjayinI, 
which name he gives to the whole country surrounding the capital — 
'Ujjaini is about 6,000 li in circuit; the capital is some 30 li round. 
The produce and manners of the people are like those of the country 
of Surastra. The population is dense and the establishments wealthy. 
There are several tens of convents, but they are mostly in ruins; 
some three or five are preserved. There are some 300 priests ; they 
studv the doctrines both of the Great and the Little Vehicle. There 
are several tens of Deva temples, occupied by sectaries of various 
kinds. The king belongs to the Brahman caste. He is well-versed 
in heretical books, and "believes not in the true law. Not far from 
the city is a stupa; this is the place where Asoka-raja made the hell 
(of punishment). ' 3 

Owing to its position, Avanti became a great commercial 
centre. Three trade-routes met here; from the western coast with 
its sea-ports, Surparaka (Sopara) and Bhrgukaccha (Broach); from 
the Deccan- and from SravastI in Kosala (Oudh). It was also a 
great centre of science and literature. UjjayinI was one of the 
seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and astronomers reckoned their 
first meridian of longitude from there. The dramas of Kahdasa 
were performed on the occasion of the Spring Festival before the 
viceregal court of UjjayinI, c. 400 A. D. 4 ,-,.„■., flJ 

An interesting notice of Ujjain is to be found in the Penplus of the 
Erythraean Sea (sec. 48) where we read: 'Eastward frorn Barygaza 
( = Bhrgukaccha) is a city called Ozene, formerly the capital where 
the king resided. From this place is brought down to Barygaza 
every commoditv for local consumption or export to other parts of 
India, onyx-stones, porcelain, fine muslins, mallow-tinted cottons" 
and the ordinarv kinds in great quantities. It imports from the 
upper country through Proklais for transport to the coast, spikenard, 
kostos and bdellium.' The ancient city no longer exists, but its 
ruins can be traced at a distance of a mile from its modern successor.' 

1 Oldenberg, p. 57, Text. 

2 On Yuan Chwtmg, Vol. II, pp. 250-1. 

3 Buddhist Records of the Western World, \ul. II, p. 37°- , a,™w 
* Rapson, Ancient India, p. 175: ^d see McCnndle, Ancient India as described 

by Ptolemy, p. 154. 

6 McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, p. i 3 5- 



Avanti was one of the most flourishing kingdoms of ancient 
India, mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya as one of the sixteen 
'mahajanapadas' of Jambudvipa. 1 From the first, Avanti became 
an important centre of the new doctrine which we now call Buddhism, 
and may have been the scene of elaboration of Pali, the sacred 
language of the Buddhists. 2 Several of the most earnest adherents 
of the Dhamma were either born or resided there : Abhaya Kumaia, 1 
Isidasi,* Isidatta, 5 Dhammapala, 8 Sona Kutikanna, 7 and especially 
Mahakaccayana , 8 

Many are the stories that are told of Mahakaccayana. He was 
born at Ujjayini in the family of the chaplain of King Candapajjota. 
He learnt the three Vedas, and, on his father's death, succeeded him 
in the chaplainship. Subsequently, both Mahakaccayana and the 
king his master were converted by the Buddha, and Mahakaccayana 
devoted himself to ftirthering the Dhamma in his native province.* 
One of his most celebrated converts was Sono Kutikanno (so called 
because he tised to wear ear-jewellery worth a crore). Kutikanno, the 
son of a wealthy councillor of Avanti, became a land-owner, but asked 
Mahakaccayana to ordain him, after hearing him preach. 10 Isidatta 
was another of Mahakaccayana's converts. He was born at 
Velugama as the son of a guide to caravans. 11 

Dhammapala, a Brahman's son of the country of Avanti, was 
also one of the early converts to the new faith. When he was 
returning from the university of Taksasila after completing his 
education, he met a thera, heard the Dhamma from him, left the 
world and acquired six-fold abhifma.. 18 

When the first Great Council of the disciples of the Buddha 
was held after his parinibbana, to compile his teachings, Yasa 
sent messengers to the bhikkhus of Avanti inviting them to attend 
and help to perform the task. 13 This shows that at that time 

1 Angidiara Niktiya, Vol. IV, pp. 252, 256, 261. 

3 Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol. I, p. 282. 

3 Therag'dha Commentary, 39. * Therigatha Commentary, 261^4. 

B Theragatha, 120. 6 Ibid., 204. 

? Vinaya Texts, II, 32; Ther,::.;,ltha, 369; Udtina, V, 6. 

8 Samyutta Nikaya, III, p. 9; IV, 117; Anguttara Nikaya, I, p. 23; V, 4>'< 
Majjhima Nikeiya, III, 104, 223. 

B Psalms of Hi-.- Brethren, pp. 238-9; also (for further stories of Mahakaccayana) 
Anguttara Nikaya, V, pp. 46-7; Sayiyiilla Nikaya, III, pp. gff . ; ibid., Vol. IV, pp- H5* 
16; Dkammapada Commentary, Vol. II, pp. 176-7. 

1° Dhamma pada Commentary, Vol. IV, p. roi ; cf. also Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., 
Pt. II, pp. 32ff. ; Psalms >f the. Brethren, pp. 202-3. 

11 Psalms of the Brethren, p. 107, Samyutta Nikaya, IV, pp. 285-8. 
** Psalms of the Brethren, p. 149. 

1* Vinaya Texts, Pt. Ill, p. 394; cf. Geiger, Mahavamsa, Tr., p. 21. 


fc. 480 B.C.) followers of the new faith in the western province 
of \vanti must have been numerous and influential. 

King Bimbisara of Magadha had a son, Abhaya, by a courtesan 
of Ujjayini named Padumavatl. 1 

The great propounder of the Jaina faith, Mahavira, is said to 
have performed some of his penances in the country of Avanti, 
especially in Ujjayini.' Here too, the temple of Mahakala— one 
of the twelve most famous Saiva temples in India— was built. 
One of the sacred places of the Lingayat sect is situated at Ujjam. 
The Lingiiyat itinerant ascetics wander over India, frequenting 
especially the five simhasanas or Lingayat sees.* 

With regard to the political history of Avanti, we have already 
referred to King Canda Pajjota or Pradyota, who was a contemporary 
of the Buddha, and under whom the new faith became the state 
reli-non of Avanti. The Pradyotas were kings of Avanti (Western 
Mahva), and their capital was Ujjayini.' There is a re erenee to 
King Canda Pajjota in the Chinese Buddhist legends collected by 
Beal « In Buddha's time, the king of Madhura ftfathura) was styled 
Avantiputta, showing that on his mother's side he was connected 
with the roval family of Ujjain.' . 

The commentary on verses 21-3 of the Dkmnmafaia gives a 
romantic story of the manner in which a matrimonial alliance was 
established between the royal families of Kausambi and A%aiit. 
One day, King Pajjota asked his courtiers whether there was a > k ing 
more glorious than himself, and they tod him that KuigUtaU. of 
Kosambi surpassed him. Angered, King Pajjota determmed to 
attack Udena He caused a wooden elephant to be made, and 
concealed Sty warriors in it. Knowing that Udena had a great 
liking for fine elephants, he had him informed by spies that a 
magnificent elephant was to be found to the frontier forest . King 
Udena came to the forest, and, in pursuit of fc«f ; ^ 
separated from his retinue and was taken prisoner. Whik a captive 
he fell in love with Vasuladatta, daughter of King Pa jo a^ One 
day, when Pajjota was away on a r>asu'e jaunt U<fc na put 
Vasuladatta on an elephant and eloped with her Or his rrturn 
King Pajjota sent a force in pursmt, but the wily Udena delated 

Ujjain and Avanti, .ee, e.g. TlwrtgShS Comaaltr,, pp. 2601. V.maajMUH 

C ™rS P I«avSon, Tke Hn« „//—, P- 33- 

* Eliot, Hinduism and BiuhUusm, Vol. II, p- 227. 
s Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, pp. 3 I0 ; ir - 

• The Romantic Legend o/Sakya Buddha, S. Beal, p. 29. 
7 Carmichad Lectures, 1918, p. 53. 


his pursuers by scattering coins and gold-dust on the route, and 
reached his own territory in safety. Udena and Vasuladatta 
entered the city in triumph, and with due pomp and ceremony the 
princess was anointed queen. 1 . 

In the fourth century B.C., Ujjayml became subject to Magadha. 
Later (early third century B.C.), Asoka was stationed at Ujjayini 
as Viceroy of the Avanti country, prior to his accession. 2 We read 3 
that Asoka's son, Mahinda, was born while Asoka was Viceroy in 
Uiiavini under his father Bindusara. Asoka's grandson, Samprati, 
ruled in'lTjjain and figured in Jaina legends.* Vikrainaditya, the 
celebrated king of Ujjain, who is usually identified with Candragnpta 
II (c. 575 A.D.) is said to have expelled the Scythians and thereafter 
established his power over the greater part of India. 

In later times some of the ruling families of Avanti made their 
mark on Indian history. The Paramara dynasty of Malwa, anciently 
known as Avanti, is especially memorable by reason of its association 
with manv eminent names in the history of later Sanskrit literature. 
The dvnasty was founded early in the ninth century by a chief 
named Upendra or Krsnaraja. Upendra appears to have come 
from Candravati and Achalgarh near Mount Abu, where his clan 
had been settled for a long time. The seventh raja, named Munja, 
was famous for his learning and eloquence, and was not only a patron 
of poets but himself a poet of no small reputation. About 1018 A.B., 
Muiija's nephew, the famous Bhoja, ascended the throne of Dhara, 
which was the capital of Malwa in those days, and reigned gloriously 
for more than forty years. 5 About 1060 A.D., this prince succumbed 
to an attack by the confederate kings of Gujarat and Cedi; but his 
dynasty lasted as a purely local power until the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, when it was superseded by chiefs of the Tomara 
clan, who were followed in their turn by Chauhan rajas, from whom 
the crown passed to Muhammadan kings in 1401. The Emperor 
Akbar suppressed the local dynasty in 1569, and incorporated Malwa 
in the Mughal empire." 

There is generally one distinguishing mark of the coins current 
in Ujjain ; but on some of the rare coins the word ' Ujeniya ' is incised 
in Brahmi characters of the second century B.C. Generally on 
one side is a man with a symbol of the Sun and on the other is seen 
the sign of Ujjain. On some coins, a bull within a fence, or the 
Bodhi-tree, or Sumeru hill, or the figure of the Goddess of Fortune, 

1 Hhys Davids, Buddhist India, pp. 4-7. The same story is related in another 
form bv Bhasa in Ms drama, Svapnavasavadatta ; Dham. Com., Vol. I, pp- I 9 1 " 2 ' 
* V. A. Smith, Aioka, p. 235. 3 Copleston, Buddhism, p- *|| 

4 Mrs. Stevenson, Heart of ' Jainism, p. 74. 
6 Smith, Early History of India, 4th Ed., p. 410. B *&**■> P- 4IL 


is seen on one side. Some coins of Ujjain are quadrangular while 
others are round. 1 The class of round coins found at Ujjain display 
a special symbol, the 'cross and balls', known from its almost 
universal occurrence on the coins of ancient Malwa as the Ujjain 
symbol. 2 Square copper Mughal coins were struck at Ujjain up to 
the time of Shall Jahan I. 3 

1 R. D. Banerjee, Praclna Mudra, p. 108. 

2 Brown, Coins of India, p. 20. 

3 Ibid., p. 87. 


The Sauviras seem to have been an ancient people. Their 
country is mentioned as early as Baudhayana's Dharmasutra. It 
was at that time considered an impure country, situated outside the 
limits of Aryandoni proper ; and Aryans who happened to go there 
were required to perform a sacrifice of purification on their return. 1 
In later literature, the Sauviras are often connected with their 
neighbouring tribe, the Sindhus, and the inclusive name 'Shidhu- 
Sauvlra', at once determines that the two tribes which were later 
regarded as one and the same were settled on the Sindhu or Indus. 

The Sauviras and Sindhus seem to have played an_ important 
part in the Kuruksetra war; they are described in the Bhismaparvan 
as having joined the Kauravas, along with the Bhargas, Andhras, 
Kiratas, Kosalas and Gaudharas. 2 Elsewhere, 3 the Sauviras are 
said to have supported Bhisma in the war, together with the Salvas, 
Matsyas, Ambasthas, Traigarttas, Kekayas and Kaitavas. In 
Bhismaparvan (ji, 14), the SindJius and Sauviras are mentioned 
together, and are associated with the Sivas, Vasatis and Gandharas. 
In a late passage of the Epic, 4 mention is made of a Greek overlord 
(Yavanadhipa) of Sauvira; he must have been one of those Indo- 
Bactrian princes who established themselves in the north and 
western portions of India between about 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. 
According to the Ramayana (Bengal recension, Kis. K., 41, 8-10) 
the Sindhu-Sauviras were settled in the western division of India. 

The Sindhus (or Saindhavas) and Sauviras are usually conjoined 
in the Puranas, though they are mentioned separately in the Visnu- 
purana* According to the Markandeya Parana, they were located 
in the north (LVII, 36; LVIII, 30); but the Visnupurana places 
them in the extreme west along with the Hunas, Salvas, Sakalas, 
Madras (see Madra Chapter for their location, etc. ; Wilson's 
Visnu P., Hall's Ed. II, III, 133). Puranic tradition seems to 
point to the intimate relation of the Sauviras with the Sivis, and 
therefore with their neighbouring Usinaras as well. The Sauviras 
were traditionally descended from Suvira, one of the four sons of 
^ivi Auslnara. Sivi and his sons are said to have founded the 

1 Baud., I, 1, 2. 2 Chap. 9, p. 822. 

a Bhismaparvan, Chap. 18, 13-14. 

* Adifarvan, Chap. 139, 2r-3. B Book II, Chap. III. 

the; sindhu-sauvteas 345 

kingdoms of the &bis, Vrsadarbhas, Madras, Kekayas and Sauviras, 
thus occupying the whole of the Punjab except the north-western 
corner. 1 According to the Agnipumna (Chap. 200), the river 
Pevika, but, according to the Bhagavatafiurana (verse 10), the river 
Iksumati flowed through Sauvira. 

Other Epic references to the Sauviras include the mention of a 
Sauvira king Satruhjaya, who received instruction from a priest 
named Bharadvaja (Mbh., XII, Chap. 140, 5249-50}, and of a Sauvira 
princess who married Manasyu, the son of Pravlra by a Saurasena 
princess, and grandson of Puru (Mbh,, Adiftarvan, Chap. 49, 
3696-7). Sovira or Sauvira is also mentioned in early Buddhist 
literature. The Mahagovinda Suttania 2 refers to Sovira whose 
king was Bharata ; while the Divyavadana in relating a story 
(pp. 544-86) accounting for the name of Bharukaccha (Broach), 
refers to Rudrayana, king of Roruka in Sauvira. The Mahabhasya 
of Patanjali and the Vyakarana of Kramadesvara mention a city 
named Dattamitri in Sauvira.* In the Milinda-Panho, Sovira is 
described as a great sea-port (Trenckner Ed., p. 359); and it is not 
unlikely that the country is identical with the famous Sophir or 
Ophir of the Bible.* Alberuni appears to identify Sauvira with 
Multan and Jahrawar (India, Vol. I, pp. 300, 302) ; while, according 
to the Haimakosa (IV, 26), the Sauvira country is identical with 

Towards the middle of the second century A.D., the land of the 
Sindhus and the Sauviras seems to have been administered by the 
Ksatrapa rulers of W. India. The Junagadh Rock Inscription of 
Rudradaman (c. 150 A.D.I refers to the Mahaksatrapa 's conquest of 
Sindhu-Sauvira, 5 along with E. and W. Akara (= mod. Khandesh) 
and Avanti (Purvaparakaravanti), Anupanivrt (probably the Man- 
dhata region), Anartta, Surastra, Svabhra, Maru, Kaccha, Kukura, 
Aparanta and other countries. The Ksatrapas seem, however, to 
have wrested the country- from the Kusanas, probably from one of 
the successors of Kaniska. After the era of the Ksatrapas, the region 
probably passed over to the Guptas, and later to the Maitrakas of 

1 Pargiter, A.I.H.T., pp. 109, 264; and Chap, on Yaudheyas. 
" Ind. aS.\ l^izf Foreign Element, in Hindu Population (Bhandarkar) ; Bomb. 
Caz., I, ii, 11; Krumadisvam, p. 96. 

■ P™'f r4th1a'.!p I> 390.%miliii is the inland portion lying to the west 
of the Indus (Walters, On Y««» Chiang, II, 252-3 read with 256). Sa™ia »dndes 
the inland portion hin» to the ca=t of the Indus as far as Itultsn {Alter »«., I, 302. 
Ind. Ar<(., 7, 250) " See also in this connection Appendix B of 1 .ti.A.i., 410 ■ n.o., 
dealing with the Chronological relation of Kaniska and Rudradaman I (pp. 523-7)- 


Valabhi. The country of the Sindhus, i.e. Sind, was the first kingdom 
to feel the impact of the conquering raids of the Arabs. An eighth 
century copperplate grant of the Gujarat Calukya Pulakesiraja 1 
refers to the Tajikas (i.e. Arabs), who are described as having 
defeated the Saindhavas and other tribes of W. India. 

1 Bom, Gaz., Vol. I, Pt. I, p. 109. 



The Surastras as a tribe must have existed at least as early as 
the period represented by the Epics. The tribe, together with its 
country is mentioned in more than one connection in Valmiki's 
RSmgyana. 1 The Kiskinihyi Ka-nia locates the tribe in the west; 
for in sending the retinue of monkeys in the western directum m 
quest of Sita, Sugriva asked Snsena to send his unit to Sinistra 
(among other countries). There are a number of countries and 
peoples in this list, e.g. the Kalirigas, Andhras, Cholas, Vidarbhas, 
etc that cannot be located in the west ; but the fact that the 
Surastras were included in the west division of India is upheld not 
only by a reference in the Makabkarata? where they are associated 
with the countries of the Kuntis and Avantis, but also by the 
evidence of the Puranas. According to the Visnupurana,' they are 
definitely located in 'the extreme west, and associated with the 
Suras Abulias, Arbudas and Malavas, all of whom dwelt along the 
Paripatra mountains. The Markanieya Purana' includes them m 
W India (Aparanta), while the Brahmapurana associates them 
with the Aparantas, Sudras, Abhlras and Malavas, and describes 
them as dwelling along the Pariyatra (= Panpatra) hius. This 
geographical location of the tribe is also supported by the evidence 
of ieB—WtlBi' of Rajasekhara who includes the Surostra 
country in the Pascaddesa or west division along with Dasoraka 
Travana, Bhrgukaceha, KaccMya, Anartta, Arbuda and other 
countries. At the time of the MakabMrata, the Surastra country 

^Thf Surtstrf^untry is referred to in Baudhayana's 
Dka^aJ: t£re "coupled ^V^^^ai^t 
The country came to be included in the Maurya empire as early as 
the'reigf of Candragupta; for the Jtmagadh Rock Inscription of 
Rudradaman refers to Candragupta's Rastriya (= Viceroy) Pusya 
enpta the Vaisya who constructed the Sudarsana lake. It was 
inctaded in Sola's dominions, for the same ^jtionrfersto 
Tushaspha, a Persian contemporary and vassal of Asofa who 
carried out Brgpleme^ryo^ratiommjhe ^ This Tushaspha 
■ AM Kinia, Canto STl^^ifc^T^SS^y. *•* 

C "° t ; Si, - rt „ i ,, ' Book II, Chap. Ill, 132-5- 

2 Viralaparvan, Chap. 1, 12. . Q kwad ' s Oriental Series, pp. 93-4- 

* Chap. 57, 52. 



was Raja of the Surastra Samgha (community) That Sur^tm 
Stayed the democratic form of government imp led by the use of 
the word 'Samgha' is also testified to by Kautllya- (Arthasastra, 
p 378), who refers to a number of Samghas, among which were 
included Kamboia and Surastra. , 

The records of Greek historians establish that after Asoka and 
his successors, Surastra passed into the hands of the Bactaan Greeks. 
According to Strabo," the Baetrian conquests were achieved partly 
by Menander (middle of second centuryB.C.) and partly by Demetnos 
son of Euthvdemos («. IOC B.C.). They gamed possession no 
only of Patalene, but of the kingdom of Saraostos and Sigcrdis' 
which constitutes the remainder of the coast. Patalene is to be 
identified with the Indus delta, while Saraostos must certainly 
be identical with Surastra (Svrastrene of Ptolemy). 

Ptolemv ' refers to a country called Svrastrene, which must be 
identical with Surastra (= mod. Sorath in Kathiawar) on the Gull 
of Kanthi (= Gulf o'fKaccha or Cutch). Svrastrene, which extended 
from the mouth of the Indus to the Gulf of Cutch, was one of the 
three divisions of Indo-Scvthia in Ptolemy's time, -the other two 
being Patalene and Abiria. Svrastrene is also mentioned in the 
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as the sea-board of Aberia (= Aoina - 
Abtura), which is to be identified with the region to the east ol tie 
Indus, above the insular portion formed by its bifurcation (llcUindle 
p 140). Pliny, in his enumeration of the tribes of this part 01 
India mentions the Horatae,— evidently a corruption of Surastra or 
Sorath (Lib., VI, c. XX). 

The Indo-Scvthian or Saka rule was interrupted by a member 
of the Andhra dynasty, Vilivavakura II (Gautamiputra Satakarni, 
113-138 A.D.). In the Junagadh Rock Inscription, Rudradaman 
is 'stated to have extended his rule over East and West Avanti, 
Anartta, Surastra, Anupa, Sindhu-Sauvira, Maru, Kaccha Kukura, 
Aparanta, etc." Of these, Surastra, Kukura, Anupa and Aparanta 
which formed parts of Gautamiputra Satakami's dominions, must 
have been conquered either from him or from one of his sons. 

After the Scvthian occupation, Surastra seems to have passed 
into the hands of the Guptas. It is not improbable that Suraspa 
was one of the countries whose rulers hastened to buy peace Dy 
establishing diplomatic relations with Samudragupta (e. 3ZO-~vi7o 

J S.^S'.'xfse, XI, ,, in doner's version. (Stabo H.nulta , .»d 
Falconer, Vol. II, pp. 2.52-3, vide also Ray Chaudlniri, Political History of Ancient 
India, 4th Ed., p. 317.) 

3 Prol). = saganiclvipa of MalnlbJnirata, It, 31, 66. 

* See HcCrindle's Ptolemy, pp. 35-6, 136, MO- 


A.D.). The Saka-Murundas alluded to in the Allahabad Pillar 
Inscription {C.I. I., Vol. Ill) were probably the Ksatrapas of Indo- 
Scythia who came to do homage to the great conqueror. His 
successor Candragupta II (375-413 A.D.) also seems to have led a 
successful campaign against the Western Ksatrapas of Surastra. 1 
The fall of the Saka Satrapa is alluded to by Bana, and also proved 
by coins; while we find decisive evidence of the Gupta occupation of 
Surastra in the Junagadh Inscription of Skandagupta (c. 455- 
480 A.D.} winch tells us that he (Skanda) 'deliberated for days and 
nights before making up his mind who could be trusted with the 
important task of guarding the lands of the Surastras'. 2 He finally 
appointed Parnadatta as governor. 

The rule of the Guptas in this territory does not seem to have 
long survived Skandagupta. Soon the Maitrakas of Valabhi asserted 
their independence, and established their supremacy over West 
Malwa, Baroda, Gujrat, Kathiawar and the adjoining region. 8 
Accordingly, when Hsiian Tsang visited Su-la-ch'a or Suratha in the 
seventh century A.D., it was included in the kingdom of Valabhi. 
According to the pilgrim, Su-la-ch'a touched the river Mo-hi ( = Mahi) 
on the west, and its capital lay at the foot of Mt. Vuh-shan-ta 
(= Prakrit Ujjanta, Skr. Urjayat of the Junagadh Inscriptions of 
Rudradaman and Skandagupta), which is to be identified with 
the Giraar hill near Junagadh. 4 

When the Maitrakas of Valabhi became extinct about the middle 
of the eighth century A.D., the Surastras seem to have suffered a 
reverse at the hands of the Tajikas who are generally identified with 
the Arabs. Already, during the early years of the eighth century, 
the Arabs had taken possession of Sind, and it is certainly not unlikely 
that they attempted a conquest of the neighbouring Surastra country. 
In a Nausari Copperplate grant of the Gujarat Calukyas, Pulakesiraja 
(eighth century A.D.) is credited with having defeated the Tajikas 
who are therein reported to have destroyed the Samdhavas, Kacche- 
las, Surastras, Cavotakas, Gurjaras and Mauryas, before they were 
themselves defeated by the Calukya king. 5 

1 C.I.I. , Vol. Ill— TJdavgiri Cave Inscription. 
a Ibid. 

a Rav, Maitrakas of Valabhi., I.H.Q., Sept., 1928. 
* C.A.G.I., Mazumdar's Ed., pp. 37 2 -4- 6 97~ 8 - 
B Bomb. Gazetteer, Vol. I, Pt. I, p. 109. 


The Sudras as a tribe (as distinct from the fourth caste) seem to 
have played some part in Ancient Indian History, and are several 
times mentioned in the Makabharata and Puranas, as also in the 
accounts of Greek geographers and historians. 

The Sudras were a fairly important tribe of the north-west at 
the time when Alexander the Great invaded India (326 B.C.). They 
were among those who were vanquished by the Macedonian con- 
queror. Greek writers refer to them as Sodrai, in association with the 
Massanoi and Mousikaroi, all of whom occupied portions of modern 
Sind. The next datable reference to the tribe is contained in 
Patanjali's Mahabhasya (1, 2, 3), where they are associated with 
the Abhiras. In the Makabharata also they are associated with the 
Abhiras, 1 and are said to have occupied the region where the river 
Sarasvati vanishes into the desert, i.e. near Vinasana in Western 
Rajptitana. 2 

In the Harivamsa, 3 we have ' Madrabhirah ' (Madras and 
Abhiras) where we would expect to find ' 6udrabhirah ' ; here Madra 
may be a misreadingfor Sudra, for the Madras are hardly anywhere 
connected with the Abhiras. 4 

According to the Markandeya Purana (57, 35). the Sudras 
were located in the Aparanta region or western country, and were 
associated with the Vahlikas, Vatadhanas, Abhiras, Pallavas^ etc. 
The Brahmapurana 5 also places them in the west, and associates 
them with the Saurastras, Abhiras, Arbudas, Malavas, etc. The 
Visnupurana (II, 3) has Surabhirah for what obviously should be 
Sudrabhirah. In the Bhagavatapur'ana (XII, 1, 36) also we have: 
'Saurastrtivaityablnruica $udra Arbuda-mdlavah.' 

J Salya-paroan, 2119. 

* Mbh., IX, 37, 1: ' Sadrdbhlran hraii dvcxdd vn!m nastu bamsvatl . 
3 Cat Ed., 12, 837- 

* M. Uin-nlirf reads ' S imibhlrah' , evidently following the Visnu, Bhagauiia, 
and some other Puranas. See his translation of the Hariva-ntsa, Vol. n, p. 4or; 
also Goldstticker's Dictionary, p. 299. 

5 19, 17: 'Tathapardntydh Saura tru . - ' irhudah 

Manika Mdlaidicoiva Pfiriyatranwdsmah.' 


The name of the Latas as a people must have been known as 
early as the beginning of the Christian era, if not earlier, and their 
country Lata or Lata-visaya was well known in Indian history till 
as late' as the seventh and eighth centuries. It is curious, however, 
that neither the country nor its people is ewr mentioned in any of 
the earlier Puranas, or even in the Epics. 

The earliest' definite mention of the country seems to have been 
made bv Ptolemy. According to his description of India within the 
Ganges, Larike lay to the east of Indo-Skythia along the sea-coast. 1 
Latadesa in its Prakrit form Lardesa (the country of Lar) seems to 
have been a very early name for the territory of Gujrat and Northern 
Konkon," and McCrindle conjectured that Larike 'may therefore be 
a formation from Lar with the Greek termination ike appended .» 
The name Lardesa probably survived the Hindu period, 'for the 
sea to the west of that coast was in the early Muhammadan time 
called the sea of Lar, and the language spoken on its shores was 
called by Mas'udi, Lari'. 4 , 

In Ptolemy's Larike lay the mouth of the river Mophis, which is 
identical with the Mahi, a village named Pakldare which is dirhcult 
to identify, and the cape Maleo which 'must have been a projection 
of the land somewhere between the mouth of the Main and that of the 
Narmada, but nearer to the former if Ptolemy;s indication be 

The two great cities of Barygaza and Ozene were also within the 
political division of Larike. In Ptolemy's Gulf of Barygaza lay 
Kamane, doubtless identical with Kamonone of the Prnflus which 
places it to the south of the Narmada estuary, while Ptolemy locates 
it to the north; Nausaripa, which is the same as modern r,aiisan 
on the coast and Sanskrit Navasarika, and finally Pouhpoula w-lnch 
in Yule's map is located at modern Sanjam on the coast south trom 
Nausari. Barygaza itself is the same as Sanskrit Bhrguksetra or 
Bhrgukaccha, Pali Bharukaccha, modern Broach; while Ozene, of 
course, is Ujjayini or Ujjain. 

1 McCrindle, PtoUmy's Ancient India, pp. 38, 152-3. «u<vj™&> n -*8 

• Marco Polo, Vol. II, p. 302 »■ (Yi*). * McCn,ldle ' "• *• 

4 Ibid., p. r53; Marco Polo, II, p. 353 n - 
6 McCrindle 's Ptolemy, p. 38. 


The Cevlonese chronicles {Dlpavamsa and Mahavamsa) refer to 
the country' of Lala in connection with the first Aryan migration to 
Cevlon led by Prince Vijaya. Attempts have been made to identify 
Lala both with Lata or Lada in Gujrat, and Radha in Eengal, and 
both countries claim the honour of the first Aryanization of Ceylon. 
Prince Vijaya is described in the chronicles as having been the great- 
grandson of a princess of Vanga; hence one school of scholars mainly 
depending on historical evidence proposes to equate Lala with 
Radha while the other school finds La}a to be philologically more 
closely' akin to Lata or Lada. It is not impossible that the 
tradition of two different streams of immigration came to be knit 
together in the story of Vijaya, as Dr. Barnett thinks. 1 

In the days of the early Imperial Guptas, the Lata country came 
to be formed into an administrative province as Lata-visaya, along 
with Tripuri-visaya, Arikina-visaya, Antarvedi-visaya, Valavi-visaya, 
Gaya-visaya, etc. These visayas or pradesas seem to have been 
subordinate to the larger administrative division, called bhukti. _ 

It is likely that the Lata country was the same as the Latesvara 
country mentioned in one' or two early Gurjara and Rastrakuta 
records. In the Baroda Copperplate Inscription (verse 11) the 
capital of the kingdom of Latesvara is said to have been at Elapur. 
The inscription also gives the genealogy of the kings of Latesvara. 
K. M. Munshi, in his work 'Gujarata and its literature', gives us 
some information about Lata. He says: 'From about c. A.C. 150, 
the tract between Khambha'ta (Cambay) and Narmada acquired the 
name of Lata which, thereafter, came to include the country south 
of the Narmada up to the Damanaganga. Under the Chalukyas of 
Anahilavada Patana (A.C. 961), the name Lata was gradually dis- 
placed by the name Gurjara Bhiimi .... The whole of Lata up to" 
Damanagahga became part of Gujarata in c. A.C. 1400. ' 2 Lata, then, 
was evidently the equivalent of South Gujarata. Lassen, however, 
identifies Larike with Sanskrit Rastrika, 8 in its Prakrit form Latika, 
which is easily equated with Lata, though the equation of Rastrika 
and Latika is not convincing enough. 

Lata is mentioned twice in Vatsyayana's Kamasutra. i Vatsya- 
vana does not give any clue as to location of the country, but 
contents himself with describing the characteristics of the men and 
women respectivelv. Lata is also referred to by the author ot 

1 J.A.S.B., Vol. XVIII, 1922, No. 7. 
1 Ibid., pp. 2-3. See also ibid., p. 20 11., p. 36. 

s See chapter on Rastrikas. It may be that Rastrika formed tlie northern r. 
of Gujarat, and Lata, the southern. 
* Ibid., pp. 103 and r26. 


Kuvalayamala (c. 779 A.D.). The inhabitants of Lata are dis- 
tinguished from those of Gurjara, the Lata people appearing as 
pleasure-loving and humorous, and those of the north as sterner 
and of stronger build. Lata appears to have possessed distinctive 
literary traits. A kind of style, favoured by the authors of Lata, 
acquired the name of Lati. Rajasekhara represents the people of 
Lata as preferring Prakrit to Sanskrit. 



The Surparakas were evidently the people of Sfirparaka. The 
Markandeyt, list (LVII, 49) reads Smyarakas which is evidently a 
mistake' but all the Puranas agree in placing them 111 the west 
where lived the celebrated sage Rama Jamadagnya (MMi.. Vana P., 
LXXXV 8j 8^) But the Mdliitbhtlrrita also locates them in the south 
(Sabha P., XXX, 1169; Vana P., LXXXVIII, 8337) because it 
bordered on the southern sea in the western region (Santi P , XL1X. 
1778-82}. The region situated near Prabhasa {Vana P., CX\ III. 
10221-7) included the country around the mouth of the Narmada 
(Anuiasana P., XXV, 1736)." It was the sage Rama Jamadagnya 
who is credited with having built the city of Surparaka (Harwanisa, 
XCVI, 50). - , 

Surparaka is mentioned in one of the inscriptions ot baka 
Usavadata and is undoubtedly the same as Supparaka of Pah 
literature where it is described as a great sea-coast emporium 
identified with Sopara of early Greek geographers. 


The Audumbaras seem to have been a minor oligarchical or 
republican tribe. They are mentioned in the Sabhdparvan of the 
Mahdbharata (II, 1869), where they are located in the Madhyadesa 
(midland district). The Harivamsa refers to certain ascetics, 
descendants of Visvamitra, as Audumbaras, but it is difficult to 
determine their exact relation with the tribe of the Sabhdparvan. 

The Puranas 1 mention a people called the Udumbaras, along 
with the Kapihgalas, Kuruvahyas and Gajahvayas. The last- 
named people were connected with Hastinapura, the Kuru capital, 
and the Kuruvahyas must also have had some connection with the 
famous Kuru people. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the 
Udumbaras (presumably identical with the Audumbaras) occupied a 
district contiguous with, or not far from, the Kuru country. Both 
Lassen (Ind. Art. map) and Cunningham [Arch. Surv.Rep., XIV, 
115 and 135) seem to locate the Udumbaras somewhere in Cutch. 

The Harivamsa 2 mentions a river Udumbaravati in the south, 
while the ManjuinmUlakalpa 3 refers to a city named Udumbarapura 
in the Magadhajanapada. 

The Audumbaras are also known from coins which come chierly 
from the Kangra District of the Punjab, and which belong to about 
the eighteenth century A.D. 4 

1 See, e.g. Markandeya Purawi, LVIII, 9- 

2 CLXVIII, Q5ir. 

» Ganapati Sastri's Ed., p. 6 3 3- ' Mdgadham janapadam P'apya pure 
Udumharahvaye ' . 

* Smith, Cat. of Coins, pp. 160-r. 


These three tribal peoples are referred to in the Allahabad 
Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta, along with the Malavas, 
Ariunavanas Vaudhevas, Madrakas, Abhiras and Prarjunas. Recent 
researches have ascertained that the better-known among these 
tribes— i.e. the Malavas, Yaudheyas, Madras and Abhiras— inhabited 
the regions on the western, north-western and south-western fringe 
of Sryavarta proper; and it is likely that the Kakas, Kharapankas 
and Sanakanikas also occupied this region. 

So far as is known, there is no other mention of the Sanakanikas, 
either in literature or in any other epigraphic record except the 
Udavagiri Cave Inscription of G.E. 82 which mentions a Maharaja 
"of the Sanakanika tribe. Udavagiri is just two miles to the north- 
west of Bhilsa, ancient Vidisa. 

The name Kharaparika does not occur elsewhere in inscriptions 
or literature ; but Dr. D. R. Ehandarkar ■ finds a probable identifica- 
tion of the tribe with Kharpara mentioned in the Batihagarh 
Inscription of the Damon District of the Central Provinces. The 
Markamleya Parana (LVIII, 47) mentions a tribe called Khara- 
sagara-rasis, 5 along with the Gandharas and the Yaudheyas; and the 
Matsyapurana (CXXI, 56) refers to a country named Kharapatha, 
watered by the river Nalini. It is difficult to say whether this people 
Khara-sagara-rasi, and country Kharapatha, had anything to do 
with the Kharaparikas. 

The Kakas 3 are mentioned in the Mahdbkarata (VI, 9, 04) 
where they are associated with the Vidarbhas who were a well- 
known people occupying tracts of territory in what is now known as 
the Central Provinces. The territory of the Kakas is sometimes 
identified with Kaktipur near Bithur,« while Smith suggests an 
identification with Kakanada near Sand. 5 

1 I.H.Q., I, p. 258; E.P., XII, p. 46, v. 5. 

B A vari:nit TC.ulitu; i> '.V; imrta^tmrccsi'. 

s Var. reading Kancika. 

4 Bombay Gazetteer. 

6 J.R.A.5., 1897, pp. 892-9. 


The Matsyas appear to have been one of the prominent Ksatriya 
tribes that made up the Vedic Aryan people in the earliest Pfltodrf 
their residence in India. We read in a hymn of the fpeia VII, 
18 6) that the Matsyas were attacked by Turvasa, a famous king, 
in 'order to extract from them the wealth which he required for the 
performance of a sacrifice. We observe that the Matsyas were 
regarded as a wealthy people, their riches most probably consisting 
of cows which were much in demand for the performance of lengthy 
and elaborate sacrifices. It is well known that m Epic taM he 
Matsyas were very rich in this wealth of cows, for which the 
Trigarttas and the Kurus led predatory expeditions against then. In 
the Rigvedic passage referred to above, the word Matsva in the 
ext haTbee/taken by some scholars to mean ' sh lb .original 
meaning) Sayana gives both meanings, and the authors of the 
57i (Vol II P. i«> alf> think both posslfc From the 
context, however, Matsya clearly refers to the people There IS, 
moreover, no doubt that cattle made up the weal h here =*«*«. 
for the verse following the one in m^S^t^^TaStZ 
recovered the cows (gavya) from the Tntsu plunder, is (rns as 
Indra's son Anuria, recovered the cattle plundered by the Kurus as 
uesSbed 11, the MaMlkaratc). Further, other tabes of Western 
India e g the Druhvus and the Bhrgus, are mentioned in the vase 
(Vfl!'i8 7) side by "side with the Matsyas. So it is evident that the 
latter is here also a tribal name. ,,„»„,„ v,,. anvthine to 

The question arises whether the name ^f^TSv^fedic 
do with totemism, as suggested by Pro f- Macdone n in hrs VeUu 
Myology. He says: 'There are !-*££ %^Zn raS 
survivals of totemism, or the behef in the descent oi t 
or of individual tribes or from antmafc <» Pg^ and ^ 
refers to the Matsyas a. august Ration o M» ~^ 
Mythology, p. 153). But, as KM- a. t> ; .^j, is not 

d^aSl Cairy £S ^ Tne'myth about the birtW 
L^^Sa^t i £ re,Sin^l«ii&^ 

i /!■«}•■. /l>» W «.i« (Anecdota OxoiAmia), P . 2un, f.n., 


Chap. 63) 1 cannot be proved to have any connection with the 
Matsya people. Nor is there anything in the account of the Matsyas 
to show that the fish was an object of worship among them, or was 
ever regarded with any special veneration. The fish incarnation of 
Visnu has nothing specifically to do with the Matsya people. There 

lis/i'n fact, no valid reason for thinking that such Indo- Aryan tribal 
names as Matsya (fish), Aja (goat), and Vatsa (calf) have anything to 

I do with totemism. 

Coming down to the datapath a Brdhmana, 2 we find that a 
Matsya king, Dhvasan Dvaitavana, is mentioned among the great 
monarchs of ancient times who acquired renown among the Vedic 
Aryan people owing to their performance of the horse sacrifice. We 
shall have occasion to mention this king again in connection with the 
lake to which he gave his name. 

In the Kausiiaki Upanisad? the Matsyas are mentioned along 
with other tribes, viz. the Usinaras, Kuru-Pancalas, and Kasi- 
Videhas. In the Gopatha Brahmana, they are connected with the 
Salvas, a Ksatriya tribe in their neighbourhood, and mentioned 
along with other well-known Ksatriya tribes of the Vedic period, 
such as the Kuru-Pancalas, Anga-Magadhas, KasT-Kosalas and 
Vasa-Usinaras. 4 The relation of the Matsyas with the Salvas is also 
attested by the Mahabharata. King Susanna of the Trigarttas, 
addressing Duryodhana, says: 'We have been defeated more than 
once by the Matsyas and Salvas {Matsya-^alveyakaih).' 5 Evidently 
the Salvas were neighbours of the Matsyas and their allies in Vedic 
and Epic times. In the Padmapurana (Chap. 3) and the Visnu- 
dharmottara Mahapurana (Chap. 9), Matsya is mentioned as one of 
the Janapadas of Bharatavarsa. 

In later times, we find the Matsyas associated with the 
Cedis and the Siirasenas. Among the kings who brought about the 
ruin of their own tribes and families, the Mahabharata (Vol. 74, 16) 
mentions a King Sahaja who was instrumental in causing the de- 
struction of the Cedi-Matsyas. In the Pauranic age the Matsyas are 
spoken of along with the Surasenas and the Cambridge History of 
India 8 observes that the two peoples are constantly associated, and 
may possibly have been united under one king. In the Bhisrna- 
parvan of the Mahabharata, the Cedi-Matsya-Karusas are grouped 
together in one passage, the Cedi-Matsyas in another, and the Cedi- 

1 The Vayupariraa (Chap. 99) also refers to this King Matsya born of Uparicara 
Vasu and a fish. 

a Satapa&a Rmhuutna, XIII, 5, 4, 9; S.B.E., Vol. XLIV, p. 398. 

8 Kausitaki Up., IV, L Trsl. by Max Miiller, S.B.E., Vol. I, p. 300. 

1 Gopatha Brahmana, I, 2, 9; Bibliotlteca Indicn Series, ed. Dr. R. L. llitra, p. 30. 

5 Mbh., Vii'ilidpurvan, Chap. 30, pp. 1-2. e Vol. I, p. 316. 


Matsya-Karusas in another. 1 Elsewhere in the Maiiabhfirutu, in the 
description of the Kuruksetra battle, the Cedi-Pancala-Karusa- 
Matsyas, 3 Matsya-Paricala-Cedis, 3 Cedi-Karusa-Matsyas, 1 and Cedi- 
Matsvas s respectively are grouped together. ^/ 

In the Manusamlniir^t rea J rk"The plains.^ the Kurus, the 
(countrv of the) Matsyas, Panclflas and Surasenakas, these (form) 
indeed,' the country of the Brahmarshis (Brahman sages) which 
ranks immediately after Brahmavarta. From a Brahman born in 
that countrv let all men on earth learn their several usages.' a From 
this passage" it appears that the Matsyas were regarded by the Indians 
as belonging to the most orthodox followers of Brahmanism m ancient 
times. Maim also prescribes, when laying down rules for the 
marshalling of troops on the battle-field, that ' (Men bom in) 
Kuruksetra, Matsyas, Paiicalas, and those born m Surasena, let him 
(i e the king or leader) cause to fight in the van of the battle, as 
well as (others who are) tall and light".' Apparently the Matsyas 
occupied a pre-eminent position both because of the purity of their 
conduct and customs, and through their bravery and prowess on the 
field of battle. , 

In the Kiskindhvil Kanda of the Ramayinm, we read that when 
Sugriva sent his monkey host to search for Sita, those under Angada 
made their enquiries throughout the countries of the Matsyas and 
the Kalihgas, two peoples situated ' at the two extremities of India . 
When speaking ' about the country of the Surasenas and the Kurus 
and Bharatas who were the immediate neighbours of the Matsyas, 
Sugriva does not refer to the Matsyas at ah, although as we have seen, 
the Surasenas and Matsvas were constantly associated in thePauranic 
age. This omission suggests that at the time of the Rmmyana : the 
Matsvas were not regarded as an important people: perhaps they 
had lost the importance which they had acquired in the \ edic age 

Among references to Matsya in the Buddhist literature, we may 
mention AAgullam N,kiya (I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252 256, 260) where 
Matsva is named as one of the M,,ha,„iup,:am of India ihere is a 
reference to the Matsyas or Macehas (together with the KasK and 
Surasenas) in the Janavasabha Suttanta o the ^ghaN^y, m 
connection with the account of the Buddha s stay m ^drka _ In 
the Vidhumfandita Jcitaka we tend that the Macehas witnessed the 
dice-play of the king of the KtgusvriaaeY^a_ Pn°^»- 

1 See Bhismaparmn, Chap. 9 ; Chap. 5^, 9: Chap. 54 8- 

3 MA., yaogavasIEda., 59, "9- , SJ.'viri, ,s. 25. 

> K^Sifeit rSo, S E| Vol. XXV, pp. f |- ^ „ 

7 ""A. VII, 193; S.B.E., Vol. XXV, p. 247. ,,,,.26,, Ml. 

» Dlgha Nikiya, Vol. II, p. 200. '• ]<&** (FaushoU), 01. pp 



The Satapatha Brahmana contains a reference to a Matsya king, 
Dhvasan Dvaitavana, who appears to have given his name to a lake, 
Dvaitavana. In the Mahabharata, we find mention of an extensive 
forest named Dvaitavana where the Pandavas passed a large portion 
of their exile. In the Virataparvan (IV, 5, 4-5), we are told that the 
Pandavas went to the Matsya capital (Virata) from lake Dvaitavana, 
leaving the Dasarnas to the South and the Pancalas to the North, 
passing through the country of the Yakrllomas and Surasenas, and 
entering the Matsva dominion from the forest. Elsewhere in the 
same Parvan (III, 24) , a lake Dvaitavana is mentioned as existing in 
the Dvaitavana forest (which was supposed to be situated around the 
Sarasvati), and this lake appears to have been close to the Sarasvati 
(III, 177). Evidently both the lake and the forest were named after 
Dhvasan Dvaitavana", and were included in the Matsya dominions in 
early times. From the Mahabharata account, it appears that the 
forest was outside the Matsya country, though not very far from it. 

We have seen that according to Mann the Matsya country formed 
a part of the Brahmarsi-desa, the country of the holy sages which, as 
Rapson 1 points out, included the eastern half of the State of Patiala 
and of the Delhi division of the Punjab, the Alwar State and adjacent 
territory in Rajputana, the region which lies between the Ganges 
and the' Jumna, and the Muttra District in the United Provinces. In 
this land of the Brahmarsis, as Cunningham shows, ' In ancient times 
the whole of the country lying between the Arabali hills of Alwar 
and the river Jumna was divided between Matsya on the W. and 
Surasena on the E. , with Dasarna on the S. and S.E. border. Matsya 
then included the whole of the present Alwar territory, with portions 
of Jaypur and Bharatpur. Vairat and Machari were both in Matsya- 
desa ... To the E- were the Pancalas . . . ' 3 

In later times the Matsya country appears to have been known 
also as Virata or Vairata. "Hsuan Tsang speaks of it as Vairata, 
and Cunningham points out on his authority that in the seventh 
century A.D. the kingdom of Vairata was 3,000 li or 500 miles in 
circuit. It was famous for its sheep and oxen, but produced few 
fruits or flowers. This is still the case with Jaypur to the S. of 
Vairata, which furnishes most of the sheep required for the cities of 
Delhi' and Agra, and their English garrisons. Vairata, therefore, 
may have included the greater part of the present State of Jaypur. 
Its precise boundaries cannot be determined; but they may be fixed 
approximately as extending on the north from Jhunjun to Kot 
Kasim, 70 miles; on the west from Jhunjun to'Ajmer, 120 miles; 

1 Ancient India, pp. 50-1. 

a Cunningham's Report, Archaeological Survey of India, Vol. 20, p. 2. 


on the south from Ajmer to the junction of the Banas and Chatnbal, 
150 miles ; and on the east from the junction to Kot Kasim, 150 miles ; 
or altogether 490 miles. 1 . 

The capital of the country is generally called \ iratanagara in the 
Viratafitirvan and elsewhere in the Makabhdrata*; but occasionally 
it is'called Matsyanagara, 5 and also sometimes Matsyasyanagara. 4 
Fvidently it was this Viratanagara which afterwards became known 
as Vairat This city was the royal seat of the Epic kingVirata, 
the friend of the Pandavas. The fourth book of the Mithabhirata 
refers to an attempt made by the Trigarttas to plunder the cows of 
Virata Virata heard that the Trigarttas were taking away thousands 
of his kine He thereupon collected his army; kings and princes 
out on their armour. Dreadful, infuriated elephants appeared ike 
.rain-bearing clouds, and were driven to battle by trained and skilled 
heroes The leading heroes of Matsya, who followed their king, had 
8000 chariots, 1,000 elephants, and 60,000 horses. Nevertheless 
King Virata was taken captive by the Trigarttas, but was rescued by 
Bhima, the second Pandava.' The period of exile of the Pandava 
brothers concluded with a year's living incognito in the kingdom ot 
Matsva They then disclosed their identity, and a marriage between 
Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, and Uttara, daughter of King Virata, 
was arranged and celebrated with great pomp • 

So much for the traditional history of Virata and his capital. 
The earUest historical mention of Vairat s that of the Chinese 
nilgrirn Man Tsang, in 634 A.D. According to him, the capital 
waf Tor 15T or 2i miles, in circuit, corresponding almost exactly 
wki the size of the ancient mound on which the present town is 
built The People were brave and bold and their king, who was of 
the race of ST. (either a Vaisya or a Bais Rajput), was famous 

f ° r We C rx7heTr d ofvlir n at W d S uring the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, 
who Svaded the country in A.D. 1009.. The g itsya king submitted 
to Mahmud, but his country was again invaded m A-^4^nd 
Vairat taken and plundered by Amir Ah who found an aMta**™ 
inscription at Narayan, which was said to record tha the tange oj 
Narayan had been built 40,000 years previously .As this «ph 
is also mentioned by the contemporary ^"f^^teSZ 
accept the fact of the discovery of a stone '^".f^lXrl 
ancient that the BrahrrmBd-that_daywere unable^toKacVthem. 

1 Cunningham, Ancient Geography, pp. 344^ * /to*., IV, 14, l. 

: " j m SS iiSSi *>«-»'■ <^' xxx,: - Ctop ' x ' " d 


Cunningham thought it highly probable that this was the famous 
inscription of Asoka that was afterwards discovered by Major Burt 
on the top of a hill at Vairat. 1 

The present town of Vairat is situated in the midst of a circular 
valley surrounded by low bare bed hills, which have all along been 
famous for their copper mines. It is 105 miles to the south-west of 
Delhi, and 41 miles to the north of Jaypur. The soil is generally 
good, and the trees, especially the tamarinds, are very fine and 
abundant. Vairat is situated on a mound of ruins, about one mile 
in length by half a "mile in breadth, or upwards of z\ miles in circuit, 
of which the present town does not occupy more than one-fourth. 
The old citv Vairatnagara is said to have been quite deserted for 
several centuries until it was repeopled about 350 years ago, most 
probably during the reign of Akbar. The town was certainly in 
existence in Akbar's time, as it is mentioned by Abul Fazl in the 
Ayin-i-Akbari as possessing very profitable copper mines. 2 

Another citv of King Virata's kingdom was TJpaplavya, whither, 
according to the Mahabharata account, the Pandavas transferred 
themselves (from Virata) on completion of their exile. s This city of 
TJpaplavya is also mentioned in other places. It was hither that 
San java, the messenger of the Kurus, was sent by Dhrtarastra 
(Mbh., V, 22, 1). TJpaplavya does not appear to have been a capital 
of the Matsyas as asserted in the Cambridge History of India (p. 316), 
but only one of the towns in the Matsya country-. The commentator 
on the Mahabharata, Nilakantha, explains that TJpaplavya was the 
name of ' another (or some) city near Viratanagara ' 4 ; but its exact 
site is uncertain. 

Dr. Ray Chaudhnri points out that Matsya is not mentioned by 
Kautilya as" a state having the samgha form of government. There- 
fore "the probability is that the monarchical constitution lasted 
throughout the period of Matsya's independence. The kingdom^ was 
probably annexed at one time by the neighbouring kingdom of Cedi, 
and finally absorbed into the Magadhan empire. 5 

1 Cunningham, A naent Geography, pp. 343-4- 

2 Ibid., p. 342. 

3 " Talastntvpiia-ss wirse nivrtte pancapdndavah V paplavyinu Vinltasya sama- 
padyanta sarvaiah " [Mbh.. IV, 72, 14). 

4 Nilakantha on the Mbh., IV, 72, 14: ' C pdlnvxam Virtdano.vttniwmiptistlta- 
tiu^irdntaram' . 

5 H. C. Rav Chaudhuri. Political History 0/ Ancient India, 4th Ed., p. no. 
For further references to Matsya, sue, e.g. Smith's Early History of India, 4th Ed., 
p. 413 and R. J). Banerjee, V'tn^alar Itihrnu, p. 158. 



The Ramathas seem also to have been a northern people living 
not far from the Kulutas. The Vaywpurana mentions a people 
named Ramatas (XLV, 117), while the Matsyapurana refers to a 
people named Ramathas (CXIII, 42), both no doubt meaning the 
one and the same people, the Ramathas. The Kurmapurdna 
(XLVII, 41) reads Ranias instead and the Mdrkandeya Matharas 
(LVII, 37). The Brhatsamhita places them in the western division 
of India along with the Pancanadas, while the Vdyupurana hi the 
reference cited above locates them in northern division along with the 

The Brhatsamhita contention that the Ramathas were a 
western people is upheld by the Mahdbharata (Sabhaparvan, XXXI, 
1195; Vanctparvan, LI, i99 T ; Santiparvan, LXV, 2430). The 
Bhismaparvan mentions a people called Ramanas who also may be 
the same people as the Ramathas (IX, 374)- 

In the same context of the introduction of the Balabharata or 
Pracandaftdndava of Rajasekhara where we find Mahipala of the 
Pratiha'ra dynasty is credited with having inflicted a defeat on the 
Kuliitas we find 'also the Ramathas having shared the same fate at 
the hands of the Pratihara king. This will be evident from the follow- 
ing passage: — 

' Namita-Murala-maulih pdkalo Mekalanam 
rana-Kalita-Kalingah keli-tat Keral-endoh. 
Aiani-jita-Kulfdah Kimtaldnam, kujharah, 
hatha-hrta-Ramatha £rlh $H Mahlpaladevah 
Tena ' ca Raghuvamsa-mnktdmamna- 
Aryavavtamaharajadhirajena._ _ Sri- 

Sabhasadah sarvdn . . ■ etc. ' 

(Nirnayasagar Press Ed., I, 7-8.) 


The Paradas, like the Barbaras and Daradas, seem to have been 
a barbarous hill tribe and are associated in the Puramc and Epic 
tradition with similar rude tribes of the North (e.g. Mbh.,Sabhaparvan, 
L 1832 ' IJ, 1869; Vmnaparvan, CXXI, 4819). In the Sabhaparvan 
of the MaMbMrata, they are associated with the Kuhndas and 
Tanganas (IJ. 1858-9). They are mentioned in the Vayupurana 
(Chap 88) as well as in the Harivamia (I, 14). The Markandeya 
Pnr.lua at one place (LVII, ->/) locates them along with the Kahngas, 
the Harabhnsikas, Matharas (Ramathas), etc., while at another 
place (I, VIII' 31), with the Sfidras, the Barbaras, the Kiratas 
the Pandvas the Parasavas, etc. In the Sabkaparvan of the 
UaMbMrata (LI, 1858-9), the Paradas are said to have dwelt on 
the river Salioda along with the Khasas and the Tanganas. A 
collation of Epic and Puranic tradition referred to above shows that 
the tribe is found mentioned in a list of barbarous and rude tribes 
with the Sakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Pahlavas, Khasas, Mahisikas, 
Colas Keralas, etc. The Harivamsa states (XIII, 763-4; XIV, 
775-83) that King Sagara degraded them and ordered them to have 
their hair-locks long and dishevelled; according to the same authority 
they were mleccMs and dasvus. They also find mention m 
Mamtsmrti where it is said that they were originally Ksatnyas, but 
were degraded owing to extinction of sacred rites, etc. (X, 43-4)- 
At least one reference' in the Great Epic connects the people with the 
Abhiras (Sabhaparvan, h, 1832). , . 

The Rock Edicts of Asoka give a list of territories that were 
occupied bv s-assal tribes; among them figures a tribe named Palldas 
along with' the Andhras, Bhojas and Rathikas. The Palldas have 
often been identified with the Pulindas, but Hultzsch does not accept 
this identification in view of the fact that the Kalsi and Glrnar 
versions of tile relevant portion of the Edicts have the variants 
Palada and Parimda. H. C. Ray Chaudhuri thinks that these 
variants ' remind us of the Paradas '. If that be so, then the associa- 
tion of the Paradas with the Andhras in Asokan inscriptions would 
suggest ' that in the Maurya period they may have been in the 
Deccan. But the matter must be regarded as not definitely 

settled'. 1 

1 P.H.Al., 4th Ed., p. 259. 


According to ancient Indian historical tradition as contained in 
the Epics and the Puranas, the Paradas were one of the allies along 
with others, namely, the Sakas, the Kambojas, the Vavanas and the 
Pahlavas, of the Haihaya-Talajanghas that drove Bahu, the eighth 
king in descent from Hariscandra, from Ms throne (Pargiter, 
A.I.H.T., pp. 206, 268 and f.n.)- Pargiter places all these tribes in 
the north-west. 


The Bhojas were a very ancient tribe, who attained to con- 
siderable eminence as earlv as the period represented by the Aitareya 
Brahmana. The term Bhoja is mentioned even _ in the Rgveda 
(III, 5 5,' 7} though many scholars do not consider it to be a tribal 
name there, and Savana also explains it otherwise. According to the 
Aitareya Brahmana} "the Bhojas were a southern people, a ruling 
tribe whose princes held the Satvats in subjection. The Satapatha 
Brahmana (XIII, 5, 4, 21) seems to imply that the Satvats were 
located near the Ganga and Yamuna, which was the realm of the 
Bharatas, 2 for the defeat by Bharata of the Satvats, and his taking 
away of the horse which they had prepared for an Asvamedha 
sacrifice are here referred to. It is likely, therefore, that the Bhojas 
had spread over Central and Southern India in very early times. 

According to the Puranas, 3 the Bhojas and the Satvats were 
allied tribes, both belonging to the Yadu-vamsa which dwelt at 
Mathura (the capital of the Surasenas, q.v.) on the banks ^of the 
Yamuna. The Visnupurana i alludes to a branch of the Satvats 
as Bhojas, and by the Epic period at least the Bhojas and Satvats 
were indistinguishable. 

In the Mahabharata, the Bhojas are declared to have been 
descended from Druhyu, the third son of Yayati, the great ancestor 
of the Kuru-Pandavas. When King Yayati proposed to have 
Druhyu's vouth transferred to himself, and was unceremoniously 
refused, he cursed his son, saying that he would be a king only in 
name. 'You shall rule* over a region where there will be no roads, 
no passages for either horses or horse-drawn excellent chariots, nor 
for elephants, asses, goats, bullocks, palanquins and other good 
vehicles, where the only means of locomotion will be rafts and floats. 
In such a place will you have to live, and with all your family you 
will get the designation of Bhoja,— and there will not be a Raja 
amongst you. 5 Druhyu's children were t he Bhojas. 6 

1 VIII, 14: ' Daksimsyjm dis: ye ke ca Satvatdm rajano 

Bka.ujydya.iva te' bhisincyante Bhojetyenanabhisiktdn-acaksata.' 

2 Satapatha Brahmana, XIII, 5, 4, rr. 

s Matsyapurdna, Chap. 43, p. 48; Chap. 44, pp. 46-S; Vayupurana, Chap. 94. 
p. 52; Chap. 95, p. r8; Chap. 96, pp. 1-2; Visnupurana, IV, 13, 1-6. 
* IV, 13, 1-61. 

s MahabhUial-.i, Adiparvan, Chap. 84, pp. 20-2 ; VangavasI Ed. 
« Ibid., Chap. 85, verse 34. 


Though the Bhojas are condemned in the above passage, yet 
there appear to have been very cordial relations between them and 
the Pauravas, the children of Puru, Yayati's favourite son, from 
whom the Kurus and Pandavas traced their descent. Thus we find 
that when Arjuna in the course of his expedition of pilgrimage went 
to Dvaraka, the Bhojas and their allied tribes, the Vrsnis and 
Andhakas, hurried to have a look at the great Pandava hero as he 
marched along the road. Arjuna was welcomed and honoured by the 
young men of his own age among the Bhojas, Vrsnis and Andhakas, 
and went to take up his residence in the house of Krsna, who 
evidently belonged to these people. 1 We then meet with an account 
of festivities celebrated by the Bhoj a- Vrsni-Andhakas on the hill 
of Mahendra. 2 When the report of the abduction of Subhadra, 
Krsna's sister, was proclaimed at the assembly of the allied 
tribes, then the Bhojas along with, the Vrsnis and Andhakas took up 
arms to recover the princess from the clutches of her abductor. 3 
Again we read that Krsna, accompanied by a host of Bhoja-Vrsni- 
Andhakas, paid a visit' to Indraprastha when Arjuna returned there 
after his exile : and we are further told that Krsna paid a formal visit 
to the Pandava king, attended by Vrsnis, Andhakas and Bhojas. 4 

It appears from many passages in the Mahabhdrata that the 
Bhojas formed a confederacy for offensive and defensive purposes 
with the Vrsnis, Andhakas, and also the Yadavas. They were 
evidently descended from the same main stock, and were therefore 
bound together bv consanguinity as well as by mutual interest. 
Besides the references given above, we may mention Vanaparvan, 
Chap. 120, where the prominent warriors of the Vrsnis, Bhojas and 
Andhakas are mentioned together; and Virdtaparvan, Chap. 72 and 
Udyogaparvan, Chap. 7, where we are told that a large crowd of 
Vrsnis, Andhakas and Bhojas followed Krsna to Dvaraka. D When 
Krsna returned to Dvaraka after the Kuruksetra war was over, the 
Bhojas, Vrsnis and Andhakas received him with honour ' In the 
Mausalapdrvan, where the extermination of the relatives and followers 
of Krsna bv internecine quarrel is described, we have a mention or 
the Bhojas' who along with the Vrsnis and Andhakas took part m 
that mutually destructive combat. 

In the Sabhdfarvan, we find Krsna telling Yudhi|thira of the 
oppressive domination of Jarasandha, king of Magadha. In this 

1 Adiparvan, Chap. 2r8, verses 18-21. 

2 Ibid., Chap. 219, verses 2S. 

a Ibid., Chap. 220, verses 12 arid 32. 

4 Ibid., Chap. 221, verses 33 and 3 8 - 

5 See also Udyogafiarvan, Chap. 28. 

8 Mahabharata, Aivamcdhuparvan, Chap. 59- 


connection he says that the Bhojas descended from Yayati had 
propagated and acquired a high position for themselves, but had 
been robbed of it by the confederacy under the suzerainty of 
Tarasandha.' In a later verse (v. 25) of the same chapter, we are 
told that the eighteen families of the Bhojas that lived in the Ldicya 
or northern countrv had, from fear of Jarasandha, been forced to 
take refuge far in trie west. Krsna is also represented as saving that 
the aged Bboja kings, being oppressed by Kamsa who was 111 alliance 
with Jarasandha, had sought refuge with him (Krsna), in order to 
rescue their relatives ; and it appears that the connection between the 
Vrsnis and the Bhojas was cemented by the marriage of Ahnka s 
daughter with Akrura. 2 . 

We gather, then, that at this time the Bhojas had spread tar 
and wide over India ; they were found in the west, in the Madhyadesa, 
and in the south, for King Bhismaka, father of Rukmini and father- 
in-law of Krsna, is called a Bhoja. Thus Krsna says, 'That mighty 
king of the Bhojas, Bhismaka . . . who governs a fourth part of the 
world, who has conquered by his learning the Pandyas and Kratha- 
kausikas . . . has (also) become a servitor to the king of Magadha 
(Jarasandha). We are his relatives ... yet he does not at all regard 
ns. He is always doing us ill. Without knowing his own strength 
and the dignity of the race to which he belongs, Bhismaka lias 
placed himself under Jarasandha 's shelter, only seeing his blazing 
fame, ' 3 

We have an indication of the position of this Bhoja king 
Bhismaka in a later chapter of the Sabhaparvan, where we are told 
that Sahadeva, the youngest of the Pandava brothers, when on his 
expedition of conquest, proceeded towards Bhojakata, the capital of 
the Bhojas under Bhismaka, after conquering Avanti, i.e. Malwa 
in Central India. 4 Later ill the same chapter B we read that after 
subjugating the king of Surastra or Kathiawar, Sahadeva sent 
ambassadors to Bhismaka, the ruler of Bhoja-kata, and also to his 
son Rukmin (who was probably associated with him in the govern- 
ment of the country) ; and we are told that Bhismaka and his son 
respected the mandate of Sahadeva out of consideration for Krsna. 
The following story is told about the foundation of Bhojakata. 
When Krsna carried away Rukmin's sister by force from his father's 
capital, Kiindinapura, Rukmin swore that he would not return home 
without defeating the abductor of his sister. As fate would have it, 
Rukmin was worsted in the fight that followed and true to his oath, 

1 Sabhaparvan, Chap. 14. s Ibid., Chap. 14, verses 32-3. 

a Ibid., Chap. r4, verses 2r-4. 4 Ibid., Chap. 31, verses ro-ri. 

s Ibid., Chap. 3r, verses 62-4* 


he never returned to Kundinapura, but built a new city of the Bhojas 
on the site of the battle-field, and called it Bhojakata. 1 

Bhojakata is interpreted by Vincent Smith as 'Castle of the 
Bhojas'. He says that the name 'implies that the province was 
named after a castle formerly held by the Bhojas . . . ' 2 It is alluded 
to in the Chammak grant of the Vakataka King Pravarasena II, 
which 'makes it clear that the Bhojakata territory included the 
Ilichpur district in Berar or Vidarbha'. 3 Bhojakata has been 
identified with Bhat-kuli in the Amraoti district of Berar. It is not 
improbable that the Bhojas had some relation with Bhojanagara, 
the capital of king UsTnara of the Uslnara country * near the Kankhal 
region where the Ganges issues from the hills. In any case we may 
conclude that the Bhojas and the Vidarbhas were "closely related. 
Kalidasa also calls the king of Vidarbha a Bhoja {Raghuvamia, V, 

39, 4°)- 

It was said of the heroic Bhoja prince Rukmin that he was m 
the very front rank of the warriors of his time; the bow named 
Vijava which he wielded was only equalled by the Gandlva of 
An una and the $drngadhanu of Krsna. This prince is said to have 
been equally skilled with the bow and the sword and various other 
weapons, but to have been inordinately proud, and because of his 
boaslfulness, his offer of aid was refused by both sides in turn before 
the Kuraksetra War. On the eve of the war he came to the battle- 
field at the head of one complete Aksauhini of forces of every 
description. 6 

In the Sabhaparvan, we read that the whole confederacy 01 
Anhakas, Yadavas and Bhojas abandoned Kamsa who was slam 
by Krsna who had been appointed to do so (niyogat)* It appears 
from this that Krsna had at least the tacit approval of all the allied 
peoples who had'been tyrannized over and ill-treated by Kamsa. 
Kamsa himself was a Bhoja, as we learn from what Krsna said to the 
Kurus in their assemblv on the eve of the battle. 7 _ 

Another tribe with which the Bhojas are associated in the great 
Epic are the Kukuras who were evidently members of the Vrsni- 
cakra or confederacy of tribes "; for we are told in the_ Udyogaparvan 
of the Bhoja king joining the Kuru forces together with the Bhojas, 
Andhakas and Kukuras." In another chapter of the Udyogaparvan 

> Mahabharata, Udyogaparvan, Chap. 157 ; **&*> iUA - Cha P- 4S ' p ' 74, 

< Ind. Ant., 1023, 262-3. , .,, . - , o. ,,,, 

I Kav Chaudhuri, P.HA.L, 4 th Edn., p. 77- * Mahabharata, I, 85, 3533- 

> Mbh., Udyogaparvan, Chap. r5?. 

& Mbh., Sabhaparvan, Chap. 62, p. 8. - 

' Mbh., uiy£p*rm». Clap. 128, p. 37- * *****->• O^P- '■ 7" 
!P Mbh., Udyogaparvan, Chap. 19. 


also we find the Bhojas in company with the Andhakas Vrsnis, . 
Kukuras, Srinjavas and Cedis.' Again, when all the people m this 
confederacy of tribes were engaged in a deadly conflict among them- 
selves we find the Kukuras fighting with and exterminating their 
allies 'and friends, the Bhojas and Andhakas.* The Kukuras, 
•.ndhakas and all the tribes in the Union rushed at each other like 
maniacs run amuck, and brought about the destruction of their 
closest friends. 3 

We have already seen that the kings among the batvatas or 
Satvats were called Bhojas: Bhoja was the designation of the royal 
family of the Satvatas in the days of the Aitareya Brahmana, and 
afterwards the name Bhoja must have been extended to the whole 
Satvat tribe. In the MahSbMrata we find the names Bhoja and 
Satvata used indiscriminately to designate the same individual, e.g. 
in the case of Krtavarnian, the Hardikya or son of Hrdlka. He was 
one of the greatest of the Bhojas, and was in the very front rank of 
the warriors of that warlike age. He led a complete Aksauhim or 
division of forces to the great Kuruksetra war 4 (on the Ktiru side), 
and appears to have been the leader of the allied army of the Bhoja- 
Audhaka-Kukura-Vrsni confederacy, as we learn from tne 
Udyogaparvan.' Krtavarnian appears to have been the official 
commander of the allied forces even before they came to the field of 
battle." He seems to have belonged to the city of Mrttikavati, as 
we may gather from the Dronapmvan. When the young son of 
Subhadra was making terrible slaughter in the Kuru army, and the 
Kuru heroes could not match him fighting singly according to the 
laws of honourable warfare, six of the leaders, Krtavarman amongst 
them simultaneously made an onslaught against him. T Abhimanyu 
aimed a number of arrows at Bhoja Marttikavata, that is, the Bhoja 
from Mrttikavati, who must have been Krtavarman. 8 

In 'various passages of the Mahibharata.' Krtavarman is called 
either a Bhoja or a Satvata, the two terms being used mter- 
changeably. From a passage of the Karnaparvan (Makabharata, 
VIII, 7, 8) Krtavarman's capital Mrttikavati appears to have been 

i Mbh., Vdyagaparvan, V. 28. 

2 Mausalaparvan, Chap. 5, verse 2. 

s Ibid.. Chap. 3, pp. 40-3. 

* Rubmin is mentioned as leader of the Bhojas. 

5 Mbh., Vdyogapamm, Chap. 19, pp. 17-18, 25. 6 Ibid., Chap. 7. 

* Mbh., Dronaparwn, Chap. 46, p. 4. 3 Ibid., 47, 8. 

» For example, Krtavarman is mentioned as a Bhoja at Mbh., Udyogaparvan, 
Chap. 57, p. ai ; Chap. 165 : Karnaparvan. Chap. 2, etc. ; and as a Satvata in Chap. 143 
(Udyogaparvan); Bhismaparvan, Chaps. r6, 51, 56, 8r, 86, 95; Karrmpanan, 
Chap. 9, p. 80. 


situated in the Anarta country, for he is called a resident of Anarta. 
Towards the end of the battle, when Drona was killed, Krtavarman 
was elected leader by the remnant of the Bhojas, Kalihgas and 
Vahllkas. 1 Krtavarman, the Bhoja, was one of the three heroes 
who attended Duryodhana when the latter took refuge in the 
Dvaipavana lake. 2 We read of Krtavarman the Satvata addressing 
the defeated Kuru monarch, and calling upon him to come out of his 
hiding place in the lake. 3 Krtavarman took part in the slaying of 
the Pancalas and the sons of Draupadi, and then he and two other 
heroes went to give the dying king Duryodhana this welcome 
news.* Finally, he returned to his own country, 5 and was later 
slain bv Satyaki in the mutually destructive encounter of the 
confederacy of tribes, his son then being placed on the throne of 
Mrttikavat! bv Krsna. fi 

It is stated in the Puranas ' that the Satvats and the Bhojas 
were branches of the Yadu family who dwelt at Mathura on the 
banks of the Yamuna; and the Makihkirala tells us that Krsna. 
removed the Yadava headquarters from Mathura to Dvaraka 
through fear of King Jarasandha of Magadha. In the Vismtpurana* 
we read that Satvata was born in the family of Krosthu, son of Yadu. 
The descendants of Satvata, son of Mahabhoja, were known as 
Bhojas." According to the Malsvapmana" the Bhojas were pious 
learned, truthful, valiant and charitable, and were performers of 
religious rites; but in another passage of this Purina (.14. ?,<>) " s ™ 
as in the MahdbMmta (I, 85, 3533), the Bhojas are relegated to the 
Mleccha caste. Pargiter thinks," however, that this tradition is un- 
intelligible compared with all other traditions, and isprobably late, and 
certainly very doubtful ' . As we learn from the Puranas "the Bhojas 
were related to the Haihayas who were a branch of the \ adavas. 1 he 
Haihavas are said to have comprised five famihes, the Vitihotras, 
Sarv-atas, Bhojas, Avantis and Tundikeras. As we nave seen, the 
Bhojas were closely related with the Vidarbhas; and they probablj 
also held sway over Dandaka, the region around fa srk. Ihis 15 

, MahibMmta, VII, IQ3- r " W " IX ' 2 «' i3 '*- 

I (S" 'W -13 ,; te als ° ,m ' *■ ,; 4 ' • n*. xi, .1 ; xi, as. 

* Ihtd., X, 8; X, 9,6. 

' M%™urm™:h CMap. 44, PP- 4^. Vayufur^, Chap. «, p. 52: 
Chap. 95, p. 48; Chap. 96, pp. 1-2. 

! tt'.Btegavatapuma, Chap. 9. P- ■* «*•*"** Chap. 24, si. 4 o; 
Harwamia, Chap. 37. 11 a I H T p. 260, f.n. 1. 

" S»i«: Sap. ,75, aot. W r**-*» Ctap. M. PP. 3-54; H*V 
fiurdna, Chap. 43, pp. 7-49, etc. 


implied by a passage in Kautilya's Arthasastra J according to which 
a Bhoja named Dandakya, or king of Dandaka, tried to seduce a 
Brahmana girl, as a result of which he perished with his relations 
and his kingdom. 

The Jaina sacred books speak of the Bhojas as Ksatnyas and 
descendants from those whom Rsabha acknowledged as persons 
deserving of honour. 2 The Jaina Sutras also tell us of a Bhoja 
princess, Rajimati who showed extraordinary religious zeal and 
strength of mind in overcoming all temptations. 3 

In the Pali Buddhist literature also we find references to Bhoja. 
In the Samvutta Nikaya 4 there is a mention of a Rsi named Rohitassa 
Bhojaputta, i.e. one belonging to the Bhoja family or tribe. One 
of the Jataka stories 5 tells that the Bodhisattva was born once as 
a Naga king named Sahkkapala. He always used to give in charities 
and observe the religious precepts. On a certain sabbath day, while 
observing the precepts, he resolved to give away his own body in 
charity, and he became an iguana. Sixteen Bhojaputtas saw this 
iguana, made it weak by beating it, and carrying it off when they were 
seen by a merchant of Mithila who caused Sankhapala to be released. 

The Bhojas, along with the Andhras, Pulindas and Rastrikas, 
were among the vassal tribes of Asoka. 6 Scholars hold that the 
Bhojas and the Rastrikas were evidently ancestors of the Maha bhojas 
and Maharathis of the Satavahana period. 7 

The next important mention of the Bhojas in the historical 
period is made in the Hathigurnpha Inscription of the Cheta king 
Kharavela (first century B.C.), which points out that Kharavela, the 
Maharaja of Kalihga, defeated the Rathikas and Bhojakas in the 
fourth year of his reign and compelled them to do homage to him. 
The Rathikas and Bhojakas are evidently the Rastrikas and Bhojas 
of Asoka's Rock Edict. 

The Khalimpur grant of the Emperor Dharmapaladeva of 
Gauda (c. Soo A.D.) speaks of the king of Bhoja along with kings of 
Matsya, Kuru, Yadu and Yavana as having uttered benedictions at 
the coronation ceremony of the king of Kanyakubja. 8 R. B- 
Banerjee holds that the king of Bhoja was defeated by Dharmapala, 
and compelled to accept Cakrayndha instead of Indraraja as lord 

1 1919 lidn., p. 11. 

2 Jaina Sutras, S.B.E., Pt. II p. 71, n. 2 

3 Pt. II, pp. 115-8. 

* P.T.S. Ed., Pt. I, pp. 61-62. 

s Vol. V, i64ff. 

fi Rock Edicts, V and XIII. 

" Ci. Ray Chaudlmri, P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., p. 259. 

s Gaudalekhamala , p. 14. 


of Kanyakubja. In Banerjee's view, Bhoja is to be identified with 
part of present Rajputana. 1 

The Arulala-Perumal Inscription and the Ranganatha Inscription 
of Ravivarman refer to a Bhoja king of that name who belonged to 
the Yadu family of the Kerala country in S. India. 2 This king 
Ravivarman is declared in the inscription to have been wise, liberal 
and a protector of the good. 

1 V angular Itihasa, B.S. 1321, pp. 167-8. 

2 Epigraphia Indica, Vol. IV, Pt. IV, June 1896, p. 146. 


The Mekalas were a small tribe inhabiting the tract of country 
comprising the modern Amarkantak (Amarakantaka) hills and the 
surrounding region. In ancient times, the Amarkantak range was 
known as Mekala, whence the name of the tribe is derived; and 
as the river Narmada (mod. Narbada) has its source in these hills, 
she was known as Mekalasuta * or Mekalakanya., 2 i.e. 'daughter of 
Mekala', or Mekala.. 3 The Mekala mountain (mod. Amarkantak) 
is a part of the Vindhyas; and in the Purdnas, the Mekalas are 
referred to as a Vindliyan tribe. This is also supported by the 
Vamanapurdna (Chap. 13)* which locates the Mekalas along with 
the Karusas, Bhojas, Dasarnas, Nisadhas and others, just below 
the Vindhyan range. The identification of the locality is confirmed 
by mythological allusions as well; for Mekala is said to have been a 
Rsi, trie father of the river Narmada, — a mythological interpretation 
of the well-known geographical fact. The mountain where the river 
rises is also known as Mekaladri (Haimakosa, IV, 149). According 
to the Bengal recension of the Ramdyana, Mount Mekala is referred 
to as the source of the river .Son {Kiskindhyd Kanda, XL, 20). 

According to the Epic tradition as contained in the Dronaparvan 
(IV, 8) of the Mahdbhdrata, Karna is said to have conquered the 
Mekalas along with the Utkalas, Paundras, Kalingas, Andhras, 
Nisadas, Trigarttas and Vahlikas. In the Ramdyana also, the 
Mekala country is associated with the Utkala and Dasarna countries. 
The army of monkeys which was despatched in search of Sita was 
asked to visit Mekala, Utkala, and Dasarna, among other countries 
of the south (Canto XLII). 

The Mdrkaiideya Purana probably associates the Mekalas with 
the Ambasthas (LVVIII, 14) : the reference is to Mekhalamusta, which 
appears to be a corruption of Mekala and Ambastha. If this is the 
case, it doubtless refers to the time when the Ambasthas or a section 
of them had migrated from their original habitat in the Punjab to 
south-eastern India, near the Mekala hill in the upper regions of 
the Narmada. 

There is another reference to Mekala in the Visnupuraya 
(IV, Chap. 24, 17), where ten kings are said to have had Mekala 
as their land of birth. 

1 S. Konow, Karl)-riramaFijui'l,\). 182. 

2 Amarakofa, I, 2, 3, 32, etc. 3 AbhidhanarainamaU, III, 5^- 
4 Among the tribes mentioned in this list are the Kosalas who were definite^ 

not located anywhere near the Vindhyas, but in the N.E. Accordingly, this list 
is not to be taken as accurate. 


The Dasarnas are mentioned in the Epics and Puranas, and also 
in Kalidasa's Meghaduta. They appear to have had more than 
one settlement during the Epic period. The Mahabharaia seems to 
refer to two Dasarnas, one in the west, which was conquered by 
Nakula [Sabhaparvan, Chap. 32), and another in the east (or south- 
east), which was subjugated by Bhimasena [Sabhaparvan, Chap. 30). 
The Ramayana and the Puranas point to a Dasarna country grouped 
with those of the Malavas, Karusas, Utkalas and Mekalas, who are 
all said to have lived in the Vindliyan tract. 1 This Dasarna is 
probably the same as the one conquered by Bhimasena. 

The Dasarna country in the west seems to have been more 
important than the other localities in the east or south-east. 
According to the Meghaduta (verses 24-5), the capital of this 
Dasarna conntrv was Vidisa (mod. Bhilsa) on the Vetravati (= mod. 
Betwaj. The Dasarnas thus occupied a site on the Dasarna river 
(which can still be traced in the modern Dashan river that flows 
through Bundelkhand, rising in Bhopal and emptying into the 
Betwa). According to Wilson,' a Dasarna river is said in the 
Puranas to rise in a mountain called Citrakuta (= KSmptanath-gir 
in Bimdelkhand). This is doubtless identical with the modem 
Dashan river. The Meghaiuta further mentions a hill called Nicah 
as situated in the Dasarna country (loc. cit.). 

As we have seen, the Puranas associate the Dasarnas with the 
Vindhvan tribes— Malavas, karusas, Mekalas, Utkalas and 
Nisadhas. In the Ramayana, also their country is connected with 
those of the Mekalas and Utkalas. whither Sugrlva sends his monkey 
army in quest of Sita (Khkinihya K., loc at.) The Dasarria 
country of the Ramayana and the Puranas is thus different from the 
Dasarna of the Meghaduta; it is probably identical with Dosarene 
of the PefMus of the Erythraean Sea. According to Wilson, 
eastern or south-eastern Dasarna formed a part of the Chattisgarh 

Chap. 45; SrtpJ P.. Chap. 114; Mirtmdey. P., Chap. 57: V.mam P.. Chap. 13, 
etc.- — 'Vindhva- flrss/in -nii-asinak' '. 

2 Essays Analytical, etc.. Vol. II, p- 33 6 > t.n. J-- 

a Wilson's Vtsnu P., Hall's Ed., Vol. II, p. *&>, f.n. 3- 


District in the Central Provinces, including the native State of Patna. 1 
The territory was probably situated on the river Dosaron which is 
mentioned bv Ptolemy, and which has been identified with the river 
Brahmani that flows through modern Cuttack and empties itself 
into the' Bav of Bengal. As Ptolemy did not write from personal 
knowledge, he could not probably give the indigenous name of the 
river, but named it after the people inhabiting the region. Thus 
'the Dosaron is the river of the legion inhabited by the Dasarnas, 
a people mentioned in the Visnwpurana as belonging to the south- 
east of Madhyadesa'. 2 , 

The Dasarnas figure in the Mahabharata as one of the tribes 
who fought for the Pandavas in the great Kuruksetra war. 3 The 
Dasarna king at that time was Ksatradeva, a mighty hero, who 
fought valiantly on elephant-back. He attacked the enemy-generals, 4 
and the king of Pragjyotisa or Kamarupa. 5 The warriors of the 
Dasarna king were all mighty heroes andcouldfight best on elephants. 6 
According to Kautilya's Arlh.aia.sira (Book II, Chap. II), the elephants 
of Anga and Kalinga belonged to the best of their species, while 
those of Karusa, Dasarna and Aparanta ranked second, those of the 
Saurastras and allied tribes (Saurastrikah pafkajanah) being the 

We read elsewhere in the Mahabharata of another Dasarna 
king, named Hirarryavarmau who appears also as Hemavarman 
and Kancanavarman (both Henia and Kaiicana being synonyms of 
Hiranya, 'gold'). 7 Pargiter thinks 8 that during the period of the 
Kuruksetra war, Dasarna was a Yadava kingdom. 9 

Erakaccha, a town in the Dasanna (= Dasarna) country, is 
referred to in Pali literature. We read in the Petavatthu and 
Commentary of a certain merchant of Erakaccha, and of the miseries 
which he suffered through lack of faith in the Buddha. 10 We are told u 
that the Therl Isidasi was once reborn at Erakaccha as a wealthy 

1 J.A.5.B., 1905, pp. 7, 14. 

2 McCrinclle'.-? Pto't'wy, "Uaztimder's Ed., p. 71. 

s Karnaparvan, Chap. 22, 3; Bhisma!<ayrn?i, Chaps. 95, 41, 43; Dronaparvan, 
Chap. 25, 35. 

4 Bht$maparvan, Chap. 95, 4r, 43. 
6 Dronaparvan, Chap. 25, 35. 

* Karnaparvan, Chap. 22, 3. 

* Mbh., V, 190, 7419; 193, 7493, 7506, 75ri and 7518. 
s A.I.H.T.,p. 280. 

9 Mbh., V, 190, 7417ft.; Harivamsa, Chap. 9r, 4967. 

10 Petavatthu, 20; Commentary, pp. 99-105. 

11 Therlgtitha, 435; see also Buddhist India, p. 40. 


craftsman, a worker in gold. Dasanna was apparently a centre of 
the art of sword-making. 1 It is mentioned in the Mahavastu 2 
as one of the sixteen M ahajanapadas . We also read in the Mahdvaskt 
that the Buddha distributed knowledge among the Dasarnas who 
built a vihara for him. 3 

1 f aialm (Fausboll), III, 33$: ' Dasamjahwi tikhi-naiUiaram asim'. 

1 I, 34. (Senart's edition). 

s Law: A Study of tin: Mululvastit, p. 9. 


It is doubtful whether Pariyatras, or Paripatras as they were also 
called • can ethnologicallv be classed as a tribe or people, to be 
distinguished from the Vindhvas with whom they lived contiguously, 
or from other peoples who had their habitat in and around the same 
locality The Puranas, however, always enumerate them as a distinct 
people, associated with the Paripatra mountains, from which they 
evidently took their name. , , 

As 'already noticed, there are two variant lorms ol the 
mountainous region inhabited by this people, as given m the Puranas : 
Parivatra and Paripatra; Paripatra seems to be the more usual 
reading, though Parivatra occurs not infrequently. In the topo- 
graphical list of the Puranas, the Parivatra or Paripatra lulls are 
mentioned as one of the seven hill ranges together forming the 
KnUcahm or Kulaparvatas, 'family mountains', i.e. mountain ranges 
or systems These are the Mahcndra, Malaya. Saliva, Suktmiat, 
Rksa Vindhva and Paripatra." The B«««avata, Vayu. Markandeyn 
and Padma Puranas and the Bhlsmapanmn of the Mahabharata add 
a list of inferior mountains to tiese seven.' The seven principal 
hill ranges are similarly enumerated by all the Puramc authorities, 
and their situation is easily determined by the rivers which are 
listed as flowing from them. 

Paripatra in particular is always associated with the V mdhyas. 
Vindhva, as is well known, is the general name of the chain of hills 
that stretches across Central India, dividing India into its well- 
defined and natutal north and south divisions; but it is evident iiotn 
the Puramc list and the situations of the hills mentioned m it that 
in the Puranas the name Vindhva is generally restricted to the 
eastern division of the long range of hills. According to the Vayu- 
hitnina however, it is the part south of the river Narmada, or the 
Satpura range of hills. Paripatra constitutes the northern and 

i Markandeya Parana, 58, 8. 

2 E.s., Vi$Mp™ana, Wilson's Ed., Bk. II, Chap. Ill, pp. 1278; alM> 
llarhmdeva Pui\lna, 57, 10; Mahdbkdrala, VI, 9. n. 

3 Bhdgavatapurana, V, 19, r6ff; Mdrftandeya P., LVII, i2ff.; MM., 
Bhismaparvan, si. 317-37S. 'As subordinate portions of them are thousands 01 
mountains; some unheard of, though lofty, extensive and abrupt ; and others, better 
known, thouch of lesser elevation, and inhabited by people of low stature. 


western portion of the Vindhyas, and may be said to include the 
range of hills now known as the Aravalli. 

The Vistiu-purana, for example, mentions Pariyatra or Paripatra 
as situated on the west, associated with the semi-mythical mount 
Meru. 'Nisadha and Pariyatra are the limitative mountains on the 
west (of Meru), stretching, like those on the east, between the 
Nila and Ntsadha ranges.' ] 

The list of the seven Kulacalas seems to have been known in 
some form or other to Ptolemy as early as the first half of the second 
century A.D. ; for he also specifies seven ranges of hills, although 
his list does not correspond with the Puranic list, with the exception 
of the Ouindion, identical with the Vindhyas, and the Ouxenton, 
identical with the Rksa (Vant). 2 Wilson thought that Adeisathron 
might be identified with the Pariyatra 3 ; but this has been found to 
be untenable, and modern research tends to connect the range with 
the Western Ghats, or, more properly, ' that section of the Western 
Ghats which is immediately to the north of the Coimbatore gap, 
as it is there the Kaveri rises'.* 

According to Rajasekhara, all seven Kulaparvatas were com- 
prised within the Kumari-dvlpa whose southernmost limit, according 
to the Skandapurana was the Pariyatra. 6 In the period of the 
Brahmanical and Buddhist Sutras too, Pariyatra was the southern- 
most limit of contemporary Aryavarta, while the eastern and western 
boundaries were formed by Kalakavana (probably near Allahabad) 
and Adarsaua and Thuna (on the Sarasvati) respectively. 6 

The Puranas refer to a number of rivers issuing from the 
Pariyatra e g " the Mahi, the Varnasa or Parnasa, the Sipra, the 
CarmanvatI, the Sinrihu and the Vetravati. The Mahi is well known ; 
Varnas'a or Parnasa has been identified by Pargiter with the modern 
Banks, a tributary of the CarmanvatI (Chambal). Sindhu is Kali 
Siudliu, a tributary of the CarmanvatI, and Vetravati is modern 
Betwa. Sipra is the famous river immortalised m Sanskrit classical 
poetrv The Visnupurana mentions yet another river issuing 
from the Paripatra mountains, namely, the Vedasmrti' (or Vedasmrta 
according to the Mahabharata).* 

1 Visnupurana, 2, II, Wilsons Ed., p. 123. , 

2 Ptolemy's Ancient India, by McCrindle, S. K. Majumdai s Ed., pp. 75"«- 
s Visnu Purdna, Wilson's Ed., 2, III, p. 128. 

4 , nr ■Pdriystrasya caivdrvak 

s Skandapurana, Kumanka-khanda, Chap. 39, IZ 3- ^""J""™** 

khandam Kaumdrikam smrtam . ^„f„„b KalakavanaA 

« bharma-mtra of Bodh&vana, I, I, 25. : Pragadarianat pratyak Kalakavanad 

daksinena Himavantam udah Pariydtram dad Aryavartam . g Bhisma , aTvm 

? Wilson's -Ed., p. 130 ( 2 . in )- 


The Vayupumna mentions the Karusas and the Malavas as 
dwelling along the Paripatra mountains. 1 The Nasik Prasasti of 
Gautamiputra Siitakarni seems to associate the Kukuras also with 
the Pariyatra. 2 This is probably the earliest epigraphic mention of 
the mountains. A more elaborate mention is made in the Mandasor 
Inscription of Vasodharman and Visnuvardhana, 3 where a large 
tract of land is described as ' containing many countries, which lie 
between the Vindhya (mountains), from the slopes of the summits 
of which there flows the pale mass of the water of (the river) Reva, 
and the mountain Pariyatra, on which trees are bent down in 
(their) frolicsome leaps by the long-tailed monkeys (and which 
stretches) up to the ocean'. 

1 Wilson's Ed., p. 133 (2, III). Malvikas and Marukas arc variant readings for 
Karusas. See also Karma P., Purva Chap. 7, which seems to inclade tie 
countries of Aparauta, Saurastra, Sfidra, Malapa (Malava), Malaka and others 
within the Pariyatra area. 

2 Brhatsamhiid , XIV, 4. 

3 C.I.I. , Vol. Ill, p. 154, 




The Petenikas of Asokan inscriptions have been plausibly 
identified with the Paithanikas or inhabitants of 
Petenikas p a jthan on the Godavari 1 in North-Western 

Hyderabad. Paithan is the present name of ancient Pratisthana 
which was a flourishing city during the rule of the Satavahana 
kings. Pratisthana, the modern Paithan on the north bank of 
the Godavari 'in the Aurangabad District of Hyderabad, is famous 
in literature as the capital of King Satakarni (Satavahana or 
Salivahana) and his son Sakti-kumara who are generally identified 
with the king Satakarni and the prince Sakti-Sri of the Nanaghat 
inscriptions. 2 According to Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar the word 
'Pitinika' of Asokan inscriptions, as mentioned in Rock Edicts 
V and XIII, should not be treated as a separate word and is 
to be regarded as an adjective qualifving Rastrika (mentioned m 
Edict V) and Bhoja (mentioned in Edict XIII) which are mentioned 
along with it. In this connection Dr. Bhandarkar points to certain 

■ Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 603. 
! Ibid., Vol. I, p. 531. 


passages in the Anguttara Nikaya 1 where the term Pettanika occurs 
in the sense of one who enjoys property given by father. 2 Other 
scholars, however, identify the Pitinikas with the Paithanakas or 
natives of Paithan and some go so far as to suggest that they are the 
ancestors of the Satavahana rulers of Paithan. 3 Both the author of 
the Periplus and Ptolemy mention Paithana or Baithana. Paithan 
is placed by the author" of the Periplus at a distance of twenty 
days' journey to the south of Barugaza (identified generally with 
Bharukaccha' or modern Broach), and is spoken of as the greatest 
city in Dakhinabades or Daksinapatha and Tagara (identified by 
some with Devagiri, by others with Junnar and by R. G. Bhandarkar 
with Dharur in Nizam's territory), ten days' east of Paithan. 

No people of the name Go-Lahgulas are known. The Matsya- 
purana reads Colas and Kulyas (CXIIT, 46) and the 
Go - La " fiulas Vayu Caulyas and Kulyas instead (XLV, 124). The 
Colas (Caulyas) were a well-known people and were famous from very 
early times, being one of the four tribes of the far south. The Kulyas 
are not met with anywhere ; but undoubtedly they are the same 
people as the Kolas mentioned more than once in the Mahabharata. 4 
But the people cannot satisfactorily be identified. 

The Vayu (XLV, 125) and the Matsya (CXIII, 47) Purdms 
read Setukas instead; but none of the names can be 
saii u?as identified. Pargiter's suggestion that they might 

mean the people who lived near the Setu of Rama is ingenious and 
may not altogether be improbable, for they are mentioned in con- 
nection with the people of the far south. 

The Kusumas are also known as Kumanas B and Kupathas. 6 
Pargiter suggests an identification with the Kurubas- 

osumas ^ Kurunbas, who were the same as the Pahlavas, 

an important tribe of Southern India. 

The Vdyupurdna reads (XLV, 125) Vanfivasikas and the Bhlsma- 
parvan list Vanavasakas (IX, 366) which is the 
ama- asa s correct rea{ fi n g Doubtless they refer to the people 
of the kingdom of Vanavasi, a well-known region of the south in 
North Kanara in historical times, and not unknown to the author 
of the Harivamsa (XCV, 5213 and 5231-3). The Matsyapurana 
reads Vaji-Vasikas (CXIII, 47) which is apparently incorrect. It is 
ancient Vaijayantipura, also known as Jayantipura, capital of the 

1 III, 70 and 300. 

2 Ind. Ant., 1919, p. 80. 

3 Cf. "\Y00h1er, Afofet, p. 113; J.R.A.S., 1923, 92. 

* Sabhaparvan, XXX, 1171; Ay--amid!uipjrvan. i,XXXIII : 2476-7. 
9 Vdvupurana, XLV, 125. 

• Matsyapurana, CXIII, 47. 


Kadambas and the Vejayanti of epigraphic records. It is held to 
. be the same as the Buzantion of the I'eriplus. 

The Vayu and Matsya Pitmnas (XXV, 126 and CXIII, 48) read 
Atavyas which is no doubt the correct reading. 
Adhakyas ^avi as a city of the Deccan is mentioned in the 

Mahdbharata. 1 The Atavyas were certainly the same as the 
Atavikas of the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta, who 
were perhaps aboriginal tribes dwelling in the jungle tracts of Central 

The Dandakas are undoubtedly the people dwelling in the 
Dandaka forest celebrated in the Ramayana in con- 
Dandakas nec'tion with the story of Rama's exile. According to 

the description in the Ramayana, the forest seems to have covered 
almost the whole of Central India from the Bmidelkhand region to 
the Godavari," but the Makatharata seems to limit the Dandaka 
forest to the source of the Godavari.' , , VT ,. 

For Paurikas the Vavupunnm reads Paumkas instead [ ALV ,127) 

perhaps wrongly. According to the Hanvamsa, 

paurikas pmjks was a city in the Mahismati kingdom (XCV , 

5220-28). It is not improbable that Purika was the city of the 

These two names are evidently misreadings and it is difficult 

to find out what is the correct form. The vayu- 

Atharvas and +„,]„„ reads alha parsve tahmgasca while the Matsya 

Ark.nnga, j^ • AtharvSica KM n e Sioa . All these readings 

are improbable. Tilahgas are well known as a southern people who 

are mentioned in connection with the southern peoples 11 the 

Markanieya. Purana (Chap. 58, verse 28). They ^are identical wit 

the Trikalihgas Avantas and Kahiigas though otherwise « ell know 11 

a e nowh Allocated in the Madhyadesa. -The MManiey* Purafa 

speaks of the Avantas as a Vindhyan tribe (Chap. 57, ver es 52 and 

55). In the same Purana, the Kahiigas are once spoken jrf as a 

northern tribe {ibid., verse 37) and then agam as a southern tribe 

{ibid., v. 46). The reference to the Kahngas as a northern tnbe is 

undoubtedly wrong. , instead The 

The Vampuriina reads Maunlkas (XIA , 12/) instead. Ji c 

y SabMparvan of the MaMbhamta refers to a people 

**"»"*'• named Mauleyas. The Mauhkas were evidently the 

people of Mulaka mentioned in the Parayanavagga of the Sutta- 


1 Sabkdparvan, XXX, n.76. 

2 J.R.A.S., 1894, P- 241; rf. JStaka. ^u^ll, \^ \ . P- 29. 
a SabhapananTxX*. 1169; Vanaparvan, LXXX\, 8183 4- 


The Mahdbhdrata 1 and the Markandeya Purana mention 

a people called the Musikas as dwelling in the south;. 

The Musjkas or the same p eo pi e evidently were also called Miisakas 

" sa aS who are mentioned twice in the Mahabhdrata. 2 The 

Markandeya Purana in another context refers to a people called 
Bfefaikas* as dwelling in the south-east and still another called 
Risikas* in the south. The Mrisikas were apparently the -same as the 
Musikas or the Musakas. The Risikas were also a well-known people ; 
they are referred to as dwelling in the north in the Mahabhdrata, 6 
in the Rdmdyana e as well as in the Matsyapurana. 1 Another 
section of the 'same people seems to have their location in the south. 3 
It is difficult to say whether the Risikas were the same as the Mrisikas 
or the Mrisikas — Miisakas. 

Pargiter suggests 9 that the Mrisikas = Miisakas were probably 
settled on the banks of the river Musi on which stands modern 
Hyderabad. Dr. Ray Chaudhuri suggests 10 that it is not altogether 
improbable that the Muchipa or Miivlpa of the Sdnkhydyana Srauta 
Sutra are the same people as the Musikas. It is also reasonable to 
suggest that the Musikas = Miisakas were a southern offshoot of the 
Punjab tribe known to Alexander's historians as the Mousikenos. 11 
Patanjali mentions a people called Mausikara 12 which appears to have 
some connection with the Musikas. A Musikanagara is referred to 
in the Hathigumpha Inscription of King Kharavela of Kalinga who 
in the second year of his reign is said to have struck terror into the 
heart of the people of that place. 13 

The Culikas and the Sulikas are mentioned in Markandeya list " 
as two different peoples, but both in the north. For 
The Sii 1 ika 8 sand Culikas, the Vdyupurdna reads Pidikas 15 and the 
Matsyapurana Sainikas instead. 1 " The Markandeya 
Purana in another context 17 places the Culikas in the Tortoise's 
tail at the westernmost part of India. For Sulikas, the Vdyupurdna 
reads Culikas in the same context, and the Matsyapurana says that 
they were a people through whose country flowed the river Caksu, 
one of the three large rivers which rising from the mid-Himalayan 

i Bhismaparvan, IX, 366. 2 Ibid., EX, 366 and 37r. 

3 LVLII, 16. * LVin, 27. 

6 Sabhaparvan, XXVI, 1033-6. fi Ki$kindhya Kamfr, XL-IV, 13- 

I exx, 53. 

3 Rainayana, Kisiiiiidhvn Kanda, XLI. 16; Htmnntisa, CXIX, 6724-6. 
8 Markaygeya Pmdifa, p. 366. 10 P.H.A.I., 4th lid., p. 80. 

II Cf. Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 377. ia IV, i, 4- 

13 Epigraphia 'Indira. XX, 71), 87; Rania reads Asvaka or Risika instead in his 
Old Brahml I)is<:riMions,x>. i;6; Thomas aiso finds no reference in the passage to any 
Musika citv, J.R.A.S., 1922, 83. 

14 BVn, 40, 41. » XLV, 119. is CXIII, 43. ir LVIII, 37' 


region flows westward. 1 Pargiter suggests that Caksu may perhaps 
be meant for Vaksu ( = Vamksu) which is the Oxns, and says that in 
that ease the Sulikas would be a people on the Oxus in Turkistan. 2 
He also points to the resemblance of the name Siilikas with that of 
the £ulakaras mentioned in the same canto of the Markandeya 
Pur ana.' 3 

But the Sulikas are mentioned in the Haraha Inscription of 
Isanavarman Maukhari in a different context ; there they are men- 
tioned along with the Andhras and Gaudas, all of whom appear to 
have been defeated by Isanavarman. Dr. Ray Chaudhuri * suggests 
that the Siilikas should be identified with the Calukyas who are 
mentioned in the Mahakuta Pillar Inscription as Calikya, names so 
near to Culika of the Puranas. The SCdikas may further be identified 
with the Solaki and Solanki of the Gujrat records. The Culikas and 
Sulikas may thus be the same people. 

The Siilikas or the Saulikas are further mentioned in the Brhat- 
samhita b along with the Aparantas, Vanavasis and the Vidarbhas. 
Elsewhere the Brkatsamhitd connects the same people B with the 
Gandharas and Vokkaras (occupying modern Wakhan). This 
suggests that a section of the people must have once been dwelling 
in the north or north-west, and another in the western or Aparanta 
region. The kingdom of Sulik according to Taranatha was located 
beyond Togara = Tegara = modern Ter 7 in the Deccan. 

The Karikanas as a tribe are referred to in the Markandeya 
Purana 8 and the Harivanda? According to the 
The Karnes latter sourc£j they were defeated and degraded by 
King Sagara. They must have been the people dwelling along the 
low strip of land between the Western Ghats and the sea called in 
historical times Kankan or Konkan. Their mention along with the 
Bhrgukacchas in tne Markandeya Purana makes this identification 
more significant. 

The Tosalas are referred to in the Mdrkandeya Purdna along 
with the Karusas, Keralas, Utkalas, Dasarnas, 
The Tosaias Kosa i aS] Avantis, etc., all of whom dwelt on the 
slopes of Vindhva mountains. The Matsyafiurana reads Stosalas 
{CXIII, 53) erroneouslv, for Tosalas is the correct reading meaning 
the people of Tosali or Tosala and the adjoining region. Tosali or 
Tosala was the name of a country as well as of a city. The city of 
Tosali was the seat of the provincial government of Kalinga in the 

1 CXX 45 46 s Markandeya Purana, p. 342, note. 

a LVIl' 40' ' i P.H.A.I., 4th Ed., 5°9- 

5 IX, 15; XIV, 8. 8 IX. 2i; XVI, 35- 

7 lnd. Ant., IV, 364. 8 VIII, 22. 9 XIV, 7H. 




of Ptolemy. 

The Vaidiias 


davs of Asoka. The country or janapada of Aimta-Tosala 
referred to in the Gaudavyaha along